YK’s Northlands dresses up for the holidays
Northland Trailer Park is hosting a holiday decorating competition as residents encourage Yellowknifers from other parts of the city to check out what the neighbourhood has to offer.
Quinton Weir, a Northlands resident and president of the park’s condo association, told Cabin Radio the idea for Dress Up Northlands came from a virtual town hall meeting.
“People expressed that the sense of community was dwindling due to Covid,” Weir said.
The competition – not connected to the City of Yellowknife’s annual holiday lights competition – aims to “provide a bit more sense of community and bring a bit more light to Northlands,” he added.
The community of Northlands – formally known as Yellowknife Condominium Corporation 8 – has “been an interesting area,” according to Weir. Trailer park residents have a condo board but still own their own patches of land.
For years, the neighbourhood was plagued by failing water and sewage infrastructure that caused major problems for residents. The city worked with the community to replace entire systems and took over the maintenance of roads and facilities nearly five years ago.
Because of this, Weir said, the community still faces a fair amount of stigma.
“I’m sure you can speak to many people in the city who have been around for a while – Northlands hasn’t always been the most desirable neighbourhood in the city,” he said.
“But a lot of that’s changed. Paved roads, the city maintains the sewers, light posts… and all the water, everything is done by the city.
“We’re changing, and it’s for the better. Everyone here has a positive attitude towards the change we’re making.”
Debbie Weir is Quinton’s mother. A resident of Northlands herself, she’s also a member of the new community event committee, which is responsible for planning the holiday decoration competition.
“I think it’s a happy place to be,” she said of the neighbourhood. “People walk around with their dogs all the time, and kids playing and stuff. It’s kind-of nice.”
She hopes the holiday competition will get people from around the city to come and see that change in the community for themselves.
“People are doing different things to their residences that they didn’t do in the past,” she said. “It’s very encouraging. We just want people to come on, drive by, and see what we’ve got.”
For those in the neighbourhood participating in the Dress Up Northlands competition, there will be both a day and evening category.
The day category allows entries from those who don’t want to break the bank for massive light displays, Quinton Weir explained – though they can if they choose.
Come night-time, expect the neighbourhood to be lit up from one end to the other.
Mayor of Yellowknife Rebecca Alty and Frame Lake MLA Kevin O’Reilly, who represents the community in the Legislative Assembly, are set to act as judges for the event. The committee is still looking to nail down a third judge.
First prize for the two categories is $500 in cash, while second place gets $350.
According to Debbie, organizers hope the event will become a tradition.
“That’s why we call it the holiday edition,” she explained. “We have plans to do other things that would also help bring the community together and to just dress us up a bit.”
Her son Quinton added: “We’re mainly doing it to let people have a chance to win some money, have a little fun the best way we canm while maintaining all of our restrictions.”
Those who wish to participate have until December 14 to sign up. Judging will take place on December 15.