The former Mine Rescue Building in downtown Yellowknife. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
Continuing its quest to find a home for a temporary Yellowknife shelter, the territorial government is now asking anyone interested in housing such a facility to come forward.
The territorial government on Friday issued a request for “information from interested parties regarding potential solutions for the provision of a physical space for a temporary warming shelter within Yellowknife.”
That request comes after a series of attempts to establish a temporary shelter have met varying ends.
The GNWT closed a temporary shelter in Yellowknife’s downtown Mine Rescue Building in May, saying a “more suitable location” was needed for the summer. An attempt to use the area outside the city’s Aspen Apartments was soon abandoned after it transpired the territory did not have the correct permit and an appeal process associated with that permit would take too long to resolve.
Yellowknife already has a permanent day shelter and sobering centre on 50 Street but that facility is understood to be operating at capacity, particularly as it’s still operating under limitations imposed to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
The territorial government already plans to build a bigger permanent facility on neighbouring 51 Street, but that facility isn’t expected to be ready until 2024 and is already facing opposition from nearby businesses.
“A supplemental location is required until such time that a larger permanent facility can be developed,” the territorial government said in a document asking anyone with space to house a temporary shelter to come forward.
In the course of the past year, the NWT government says it has examined dozens of potential locations. All have been ruled out.
The new document asks for a space that can accommodate at least 30 people including staff, with at least two bathrooms and a kitchenette with appliances.
“The requirements are kept to a minimum to ensure any and all spaces are considered,” the territorial government stated, emphasizing its readiness to look into any remaining options in the city – both downtown and elsewhere.
“In terms of space requirement, it is estimated that about 200 square metres is required, but we are open to a larger or slightly smaller space provided the requirements outlined in this document are met and affordable.”
The territory says it may open a competitive bidding process depending on feedback received during this initial request for information. The GNWT envisages leasing a space for at least three years.
Anyone interested is asked to submit a floor plan, an estimate of expected costs, and a range of related information.