Yellowknife Centre Newsletter
Largest ever capital budget passed
Permanent day shelter coming
The GNWT is investing $451 million in capital projects in the next fiscal year. One-third of this total comes from the federal government. The biggest spending by project type (42 per cent) is going to roads, while nine per cent is going to renewable energy projects. As a result of last minute negotiations, $15 million will be added for housing over the next three years, and $5 million over two years to help close the gap in municipal funding.
The capital budget also includes spending on a permanent shelter downtown. The shelter is described as a wellness and recovery centre, which captures my hopes for what it will accomplish. The list of services in the new building hasn’t been finalized, and nor has the location. What we do know is that the daytime services will accommodate 50 people while the nighttime services will accommodate another 30. The new building is scheduled to open in 2023. 

Ecole JH Sissons School Update

Yellowknife Centre residents will be interested to know that $16.4 million in the next capital budget is going to the reconstruction of Ecole JH Sissons School. Here is an update on that project from the Department of Infrastructure:
During the demolition and clearing of the site, it was discovered the existing school was built on rock that there were areas with significant depressions. As part of the original construction, these areas were filled with a combination of boulders and sandy fill. A GNWT technical group assessed the fill and determined it is not suitable as structural fill. For this reason this material had to be taken out to expose clean bedrock to anchor the building as designed.
The fill materials located in the parking area were placed there in the interim with the hope they could be used for other non-structural fill purposes as well as to expedite the clearing of the overburden by shortening the turnaround time for the haul trucks. This decision resulted in having the foundation survey completed sooner as well as attempting to establish the most cost effective solution between the current site condition and any altered foundation design. The contractor has started removing this material.
With the unforeseen foundation condition, there will be an additional cost to address the situation, as well as an impact to the construction schedule. However, the project completion date of August 2022 is not at risk at this time.
COVID cases are coming: Stay calm and carry on
COVID infections are surging in Alberta and Edmonton in particular. Lots of us go to Edmonton for medical, work and leisure travel. If you have a trip planned, wear a mask in all public places, don’t touch your face, wash your hands and remain six feet or two meters apart. File your self-isolation plan before you go at

Factor two weeks of isolation into your plans for when you return. Family members who are returning for Christmas must follow the same two-weeks of isolation.
It’s not too late to get your flu shot.
Call Public Health at 767-9120 to make an appointment.
That means either they have to isolate for two-weeks in a separate part of your house or all returning travellers have to self-isolate together. I expect the Chief Public Health Officer to be very strict about exceptions to these standards because of the increased risk from infections down south.
Temporary day shelter debate settled for the winter
My thanks to the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs for enacting a Yellowknife-specific state of emergency to obtain the City’s Mine Rescue Building (Side Door) as a temporary day shelter, and to the Yellowknife City Council for their co-operation. The existing day shelter/sobering centre across from the newspaper has reduced capacity because of the need for physical distancing.
I’m also grateful to Yellowknife Centre residents for their patience. We host the biggest homeless population in the territory, with two-thirds coming from communities outside of Yellowknife, and outside the NWT. I know some residents find having this population on our doorstep challenging. At the same time we don’t want to see anyone who is homeless spend cold winter days outdoors at risk of freezing. One of the silver linings of this debate about the location of the temporary shelter is the number of heartfelt expressions of support for this service and empathy for the people who need it.

Congratulations to Yellowknife Centre resident Deborah McLeod who recently retired from the NWT Human Rights Commission. Debra had been with the Commission since it was created in 2004, first as Deputy Director and then as Director. Before moving to Yellowknife, Deborah lived and worked in Inuvik.
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