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Housing
Yellowknife

Avens Pavilion development appeal is dismissed


Yellowknife’s development appeal board has dismissed a challenge to the permit allowing construction of the 102-unit Avens Pavilion seniors’ facility.

Fourteen residents of neighbouring Matonabee Street appealed the development permit for Avens Pavilion. At a hearing on May 30, they alleged Yellowknife city council broke its own rules and showed bias in approving the plans.

Avens, the Yellowknife-based seniors’ care group, says the new building is necessary to provide expanded capacity for the NWT’s growing number of older people who require various levels of support.

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In a June 25 ruling, the three-person development appeal board dismissed every aspect of the residents’ appeal and confirmed the permit.

The ruling states residents “did not persuade the board” that the City of Yellowknife had misapplied its zoning bylaw. The appellants had alleged the bylaw stated that only city council could handle any aspect of a conditional permit (a type of permit that must receive council approval), meaning the city erred in allowing its development officer to handle the administrative work. The city said this was an unjustifiably narrow reading of the bylaw that made no sense.

The board concluded there was an “adequate level of procedural fairness” in the process of issuing the permit and, contrary to the appellants’ claim, decided the developer had listened to residents’ views and “taken reasonable measures to mitigate the impact on neighbouring properties.”

Residents of Matonabee Street had complained that some homes would be left in shadow for much if not all of the day in winter, and that safety would be compromised by the building’s use of a narrow lane for access.

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Lastly, the board dismissed the appeal’s suggestion that Councillor Niels Konge had acted inappropriately by expressing what the 14 residents felt were one-sided views in support of Avens Pavilion. The appellants’ presentation on May 30 had included photos taken from Facebook showing Konge with Daryl Dolynny, now the executive director of Avens.

“While the evidence suggests a relationship between one council member and a representative of the developer, the evidence presented does not rise to the level of bias, or that it would be fatal to the approval of the development,” the board found.

The decision is final and binding and cannot be appealed, meaning it clears the way for construction of the facility to proceed with no further obstacles.

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