Hay River highrise set to be auctioned due to arrears

Hay River's Mackenzie Place highrise in August 2019. Photo: Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio

The contentious Mackenzie Place highrise in Hay River is set to be sold in a tax auction sanctioned by the town on Thursday.

A tax auction, as set out in the Property Assessment and Taxation Act, consists of a public auction of properties in arrears. In this case, the properties available are those owing property taxes from 2019 and earlier.

Notices were sent to all owners at risk of having property sold, the town said.

The highrise – owned by Harry Satdeo, who could not be reached for comment – caught fire in March 2019 and has been uninhabitable since. More than 100 people were displaced.



The building remains closed by a public health order related to asbestos and mould.

The territorial government has said the building is not up to code because of unsafe balconies, a damaged fire alarm system, and a range of other issues related to fire protection.

Glenn Smith, the senior administrative officer for Hay River, confirmed to Cabin Radio the building – listed as 3 Capital Drive – will be auctioned at 9am on June 10 for a minimum of $1.45 million if some payment isn’t received.

He said the outstanding arrears on the building amount to about $170,000.



“If prior to commencement of public auction, any person including the assessed owner pays the arrears of property taxes and all reasonable expenses incurred by the town to collect the arrears with respect to a taxable property, the property will not be offered for auction,” town council documents state.

A summary of the auction’s rules states the owner of any property listed has up to 30 days after the auction to ”redeem the property by paying the town the arrears of property taxes and all reasonable expenses incurred by the town to collect the arrears, as of the date of payment.”

The document continues: “If the owner redeems the property, the sale cannot be completed and all rights and interests of the purchaser in the taxable property cease.”

In other words, the building’s owner has around a month after any sale to pay up and stop it going ahead.

Smith said it’s “not very often that a tax sale does actually get fully executed through the process, so we’ll see – we really don’t know.”

In March, RCMP closed their investigation into what caused the highrise fire in 2019.

The NWT’s fire marshal initially concluded it had been started intentionally but, after two years passed, a police major crimes unit said there was no evidence to support criminal charges.

Those looking to purchase a property on Thursday can tune in via Zoom. Anyone successfully bidding on a property must pay the town 25 percent of the price by 4pm on the day of the auction.