Owner Harry Satdeo remains confident that Mackenzie Place — the highrise apartment building closed since a fire in March of 2019 — will be reopened soon. NNSL file photo

Even though the closure of Mackenzie Place has now passed the two-year mark, owner Harry Satdeo remains optimistic that the building will reopen.

In fact, Satdeo is predicting that the highrise apartment building — closed since a fire on March 15, 2019 — will be open soon.

“We’re still planning to get it all fixed up and reopened,” he said on March 18 in a telephone interview from Florida.

Satdeo said that two representatives from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) had taken a look at the building the day before.

“They are in the process of doing their research and seeing if they could finance the renovations,” he said, noting an application for funding was made to the federal agency in August.

A spokesperson for the CMHC in Ottawa could offer no information.

“To protect the confidentiality of our partners and the proponents, any information regarding applications or potential projects cannot be released publicly until we have a signed agreement with the proponent,” the spokesperson said.

Satdeo also said there continues to be an exchange of reports with the Department of Health and Social Services on what needs to be done to get the building reopened.

The owner said a GNWT consultant evaluated the building and prepared a report, which was made available to his consultant, Arctic Environmental Services Ltd. of Alberta, a little over two months ago.

His consultant is now preparing a plan of action to present to the GNWT for its approval, said Satdeo, who said that the latest reports focus on dealing with environmental issues, such as mould, lead and asbestos.

“And we’re going to come up with a plan to present to the government probably (this) week,” he said.

The Department of Health and Social Services did not respond directly when asked whether there had been a recent exchange of reports on the building.

Instead, a spokesperson said that the public health order restricting access to the public remains in effect until the owner of Mackenzie Place has demonstrated to the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer that he has met the terms to lift the order.

Satdeo said he never thought the closure of the building would go on for so long, but he still “absolutely” believes it can be repaired for people to live there once again.

The 16-storey Mackenzie Place has been empty of tenants since an estimated 125 people were displaced by the fire.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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