Seven residents will address council over Tin Can Hill campus plan

Seven Yellowknife residents have signed up to make presentations before city councillors decide whether to sign an agreement over a proposed Tin Can Hill university campus.

Monday evening’s special council meeting, which begins at 7pm, is being convened for the sole purpose of considering a proposed memorandum of understanding with the NWT government.

Signing the memorandum will identify Tin Can Hill as the “intended site” of a campus for the territory’s polytechnic university and begin initial steps in the land transfer process, though the document is not legally binding.


Tin Can Hill, between downtown Yellowknife and Great Slave Lake, is treasured as a green space and trail network popular with dog walkers. Multiple attempts to develop Tin Can Hill over past decades have been defeated.

However, the territorial government and City of Yellowknife staff say Tin Can Hill is the best site in the city for such a campus, offering a spectacular location while using only about a twelfth of the hill for facilities, though that could increase if the university expands in future.

In the five days since officials confirmed a plan first reported by Cabin Radio, arguments have centred on whether an attractive, standout campus is a key feature of the planned polytechnic university, and whether the city is better served by spreading the campus across downtown buildings with high vacancy rates.

The agenda for Monday evening’s meeting shows seven residents have asked to present to councillors before they make their decision.

The document does not indicate whether each presenter will speak to support or oppose the planned location.


Presenters include Allan Gofenko, whose petition against the proposal had reached 530 signatures as of Saturday morning, and Libby Macphail, who was until February a planner at the City of Yellowknife.

After those presentations, councillors will deliberate before voting on whether to sign the memorandum of understanding. The meeting can be watched live via the city’s website.

At a preparatory meeting on May 30, those councillors in attendance spoke in broad favour of the proposed location and the memorandum.

If the memorandum is signed, the proposal would still have significant hurdles to cross, including public hearings related to required zoning changes and the issuing of a development permit.