The Town of Inuvik has issued a tender for the construction of a new visitor centre and Arctic Market building – a plan that’s been in the works since 2017.
The new building is one of two upcoming projects taking place in the town’s Chief Jim Koe Park, which closed on June 15 ahead of redevelopment work.
The town believes a permanent spot for the annual Arctic Market will extend the market season and serve a host of other purposes, such as housing a visitor centre and tourism office alongside a general-use meeting space and place to display local art.
The building will also be the new permanent home of the town’s department of tourism and economic development.
Jackie Challis, director of the department, told Cabin Radio the town’s visitor centre – once finished – is designed to complement the existing regional visitor centre, also in Inuvik, which is run by the territorial government.
Since the regional centre is typically only open in the summer months, Challis believes the local centre will provide a more consistent presence.
“We’re really excited about what this space means because it will allow us, all year round, to have visitor reception,” Challis said.
“We can be pointing them in the direction of local businesses, pointing them in the direction of tourism opportunities, pointing them in the direction of where [to] buy arts and crafts.”
The facility will provide a space for more cultural programming in the community, Challis said, opening up new opportunities for residents like the potential for an artist residency program.
“We’re not building these things for the town, necessarily,” she said. “We are building these for the community, for Indigenous governments, for the residents, for the different community organizations.
“Hopefully, we all can be proud of this really great new space with potential for who knows what.”
Bidding on the tender is open until 2pm on August 7. Those submitting a bid must contact Kecil Joseph, the town planning officer, to register and receive the proper documents. Those who don’t could risk being ineligible for consideration.
A project update will be presented to town council during a meeting on August 10 at 7pm, to be broadcast live on the Town of Inuvik’s YouTube channel.
The public is invited to tune in to learn more about the building’s design elements, the intended use of the space, and the town’s overall plans.