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Ottawa spending $4.1M to better ventilate four NWT buildings


A Yellowknife museum, Fort Smith high school, and health centres in Fort McPherson and Whatì will have ventilation work through $4.15 million in federal funding.

Michael McLeod, the NWT’s Liberal MP, and territorial infrastructure minister Diane Archie announced the money – which comes from a fund related to Covid-19 – in a press release on Monday.

The cash will make the buildings “safer and more comfortable for visitors and workers,” the press release stated.

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In 2018, the NWT government said the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre – the territory’s main museum – had “crumbling infrastructure” and such poor heating and air conditioning that not only were staff being affected, but the preservation of historical items was being jeopardized.

$650,000 will now be spent redesigning ductwork in the building to “allow free cooling during the shoulder season and improve the building environmental conditions,” a briefing document stated.

$1.5 million will be spent increasing ventilation capacity at Fort McPherson’s health centre “to reduce the spread of airborne viruses like Covid-19 and create a healthier and safer environment,” the same document read.

Meanwhile, $1.2 million to be spent at Whatì’s health centre will upgrade the facility’s ventilation and “support the ability to deliver dental services in the community.”

In Fort Smith, $800,000 will pay for an air handling unit at PW Kaeser High School to be replaced, increasing air flow inside the building.

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The money comes from a fund known as the Covid-19 Resilience Infrastructure stream. To get the cash, projects have to show some kind of connection with improving residents’ safety related to the virus.

“We know that we are more susceptible to airborne viruses when we are indoors,” stated Archie in Monday’s press release.

“I am pleased to be working with our federal partners to improve the air quality in our indoor public spaces and to mitigate the spread of airborne viruses like Covid-19 in the NWT.”

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