Yellowknife

Northern Frontier Visitors Centre ‘demolished by end of May’

Last modified: January 13, 2020 at 4:51am


The territorial government wants to have Yellowknife’s derelict Northern Frontier Visitors Centre torn down by early summer, a request for proposals indicates.

The tender for demolition of the centre closes on January 24. The building, near the territory’s legislature and museum, has been empty since 2017 after an inspection deemed it structurally unsafe.

The NWT government’s tender seeks bids for the “demolition, removal, disposal … and site remediation” of the existing building, Department of Infrastructure spokesperson Agata Gutkowska told Cabin Radio by email.

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The budget for the work cannot yet be released, Gutkowska said, as the tender is in active procurement. Last August, then-industry minister Wally Schumann told the legislature demolition would cost $600,000.

Schumann argued at the time the demolition fee was small compared to the estimated cost of salvaging still-undamaged portions of the building, which he said would cost $2.7 million – in addition to nearly $650,000 already assigned to repairs, monitoring, and design costs over the past two years.

The request for proposals sets a deadline for demolition of May 31, 2020.

What will happen to the site after the building is removed has yet to be determined, Gutkowska said.

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There remains no public plan to create a new information centre for tourists, despite the territorial government recently declaring record figures for visitors to the Northwest Territories and its capital. In the 2018-2019 financial year, the territory welcomed more than 120,000 people.

For the time being, a visitor information centre is temporarily housed on the bottom floor of Yellowknife City Hall.

A recent report commissioned by the City of Yellowknife recommended relocating a future information centre downtown to generate more foot traffic for surrounding businesses and attractions.

The report analyzed cellphone location data for the Northern Frontier Visitors Centre for the four years leading up to its closure. Authors of the report said the majority of people went straight from their hotels to the centre and back again, without passing through Yellowknife’s downtown.

Sarah Pruys contributed reporting.

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