Construction of Inuvik’s new special events pavilion is almost complete. The pavilion is part of the ongoing redevelopment of Chief Jim Koe Park, in the works for nearly a decade.
Jackie Challis, the town’s economic development officer, told Cabin Radio the park redevelopments are about “creating a space that’s usable for the community.”
Planning for the pavilion itself began three years ago, with the intent of creating a permanent space to host community events.
Challis said the space is intended not only for annual festivities – the likes of Canada Day, National Indigenous Peoples Day, and the Great Northern Arts Festival – but also a range of new events.
“It’s really to support and bolster more festivals, events, performances – musical but also perhaps plays, perhaps northern games,” said Challis. “Really placing Inuvik as a great venue in the Arctic to host events and festivals.”
In March, Inuvik received $563,000 in federal funds to help cover the costs of park redevelopment. The town also received a $475,000 tourism-related grant from CanNor in 2019. Funds from the town budget bring the project’s total to just over $1 million.
Park redevelopment plans also include a new, permanent Arctic Market building, set to be completed by June 2021.
Inside the pavilion will be a convertible trailer stage and larger platform stage, with bleachers providing seating for a maximum of 270 people. With construction of the exterior completed, workers are now assembling the interior elements.
Mayor Natasha Kulikowski said she was “super excited” for the new space, as a permanent covered structure would allow the town to extend its event season.
“Having a covered stage with sides on it means we can host things in the spring and fall that maybe we’ve never been able to host before, because of weather,” she said.
“I think it’s super exciting to see our current events move forward with more certainty, but then also all the new things that we’ll be able to do under the pavilion – as well as everyone being able to access everything. All the bleachers are accessible for wheelchairs, strollers, and the like.
“Hopefully, Covid-wise, we get to a place where we can start to have some larger community events again. We’ll have a great facility to have them in, once we’re there.”