The Northwest Territories government has renewed a local state of emergency in Yellowknife for a third time in order to keep a temporary day shelter’s doors open in the city during the frigid winter months.
Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs Paulie Chinna announced the extension on Thursday afternoon, saying additional shelter space is still needed as capacity is limited at the city’s permanent shelter due to Covid-19.
The territory first declared the state of emergency on November 6 in order to use the city-owned Mine Rescue Building as a shelter.
City councillors had initially rejected the territory’s request to use the downtown building in August, citing concerns about the potential impact on neighbouring businesses.
As the mercury dropped, however, the territorial government said it had found no better alternative – and feared people seeking shelter would be turned away and left to sleep outside at below-freezing temperatures.
The territorial government has pledged to build a new permanent shelter by 2023.
Under the territory’s Emergency Management Act, a state of emergency expires every 14 days unless it is renewed by the minister. Thursday’s extension expires on January 1.
The territory said the local state of emergency will be extended “for as long as it is required.”