There were no crowds of protesters filling chambers when town council passed a re-zoning bylaw to allow for new housing for RCMP officers Jan. 15.
Councillors voted 6-0, with Coun. Kurt Wainman absent and Coun. Alana Mero abstaining due to pecuniary interest, to re-zone Block Plan 3834 on Bompas Street from four lots into three lots to allow for the building of three duplex units by NWT Housing Corporation. The request for decision also requires the corporation to purchase the lots from the town prior to beginning construction.
“It is nice to see them move the houses throughout the community more,” said Mayor Natasha Kulikowski during the vote. “Also, I think seeing the lots being talked about being a combination of municipal, private and federal lands is a nice way to hopefully spread the economic boost throughout the town.”
A previous plan to house the town’s police officers on Charmichael Dr. had come up in September, but a public backlash that lead to council chambers being filled with several homeowners expressing their discontent sent planners back to the drawing board. On Jan. 13, NWT Housing Corporation representative Randy Cleveland presented the updated proposal, which involves building the housing units in three separate locations as opposed to the initial plan of one.
“There was a desire to see the RCMP residences spread out across several neighbourhoods in the community to enhance integration of the force,” he explained. “The RCMP criteria is fairly simple, they just want to make sure this project allows them to attract and retain staff so they have members that stay for a long time.
“That means a comfortable, safe and contemporary accommodation. Currently they are living in houses that are 40 to 50 years old.”
Now, homes are being planned on Mackenzie St., Nanuk Pl. and the aforementioned Bompas St. and will have a more architectural fit with existing buildings and less modular in their design. However, the Mackenzie and Nanuk properties are privately owned and negotiations for those buildings are still underway and the four-plex currently sitting on the Mackenzie property, which is boarded up, will need to be demolished.
All in all, 13 three-bedroom houses and four two-bedroom units will be built. NWT Housing corporation is predicting the cost of the constructing the buildings will bring in $12,240,000 to the local economy and an additional $1,146,350 for the town.
Councillors expressed their approval for the revised plans.
“I think this is far superior to the presentation made the last time,” said Coun. Clarence Wood. “It’s certainly more conducive to the neighbourhood. I especially like the development proposed for Mackenzie Road as well.
“It could get rid of some of the crap for buildings and build something worthwhile.”
Work on the new housing is expected to begin this summer and be finished by early 2021.