Avens plans to begin construction on a new 102-unit seniors’ facility in Yellowknife by the end of the month.
The Avens Pavilion received its development permit from the City of Yellowknife on Friday. The non-profit said in a press release that construction work can now begin, as long as there are no further delays due to development permit appeals.
“We are confident construction of this much needed building will proceed on schedule in order to meet the housing needs of seniors,” Avens board chair Marion LaVigne was quoted as saying.
The expansion has received some criticism from neighbours who raised concerns about the developer’s plans to use a narrow laneway as the main access point to the facility. They also highlighted issues with the building’s sun shadow, noise, drainage issues and pedestrian safety.
LaVigne said the project’s design and development team has “worked with the city to resolve these concerns as completely as possible.”
LaVigne warned any further delays in finalizing the development permit could jeopardize the project’s funding, impacting the cost of the project and seniors who need affordable and supportive housing.
In October 2002, the federal government pledged $33.7 million for construction of the development while the NWT government said it would contribute $5.1 million for a kitchen and laundry addition.
Avens president and chief executive officer Daryl Dolynny added that the Covid-19 pandemic has led to skyrocketing lumber and metal siding costs, which have gone up 300 percent and 28 percent respectively.
“With a set budget, it is imperative that we finalize our development permit without delay, so we can access our funding and start sourcing materials as soon as possible,” he said. “We also know this project will have a positive effect on our economy, with many of our northern contractors waiting to get started on this $40 million community project.”
Design work for the space is still ongoing. Avens said it plans to consult seniors over the next few months about what facilities and services they’d like to see in the building.
The non-profit said it expects to have rental packages available as early as this fall and could start accepting applications for apartment rentals later this year if the project proceeds as planned.
The pavilion is projected to be completed by fall 2022.