Construction and capital projects are steaming on in Inuvik, with the town issuing a tender for construction of its new Visitor Centre and Arctic Market building.

Biding is open until Aug. 7 at 2 p.m. local time, the bidder must account for subcontractors including electrical, structural, welding, roofing, painting, mechanical and plumbing and must post a security deposit to be considered.

A project update will be presented to town councillors at their Aug. 10 meeting. The park as it currently exists officially closed June 15.

A design concept of the Arctic Market and Visitor’s Centre that was presented to Town Council May 11. Photo courtesy Town of Inuvik.

Plans for the upcoming centerpiece were presented to town council during a May 11 Committee of the Whole meeting, where director of Tourism and Economic Development Jackie Challis explained the project was funded through both CanNor and the town’s capital budget.

Challis told Inuvik Drum these blueprints are not the final design — an updated final design will be presented to the public at an August 10 council meeting.

“These are going to be major projects and assets for the community,” said Challis. “They’re a collaboration of all of our departments.”

Initially, to build both structures within the budget the town had, the plan was to make use of skilled trades students learning at Aurora College to cover much of the needed labour. However, because of Covid-19 those programs were suspended and the town needed to come up with another option.

“As a result of Covid-19, that program is no longer taking place,” she said. “So we do have a bit of a gap in terms of providing that labour under that price.”

Challis added the town was looking into options to preserve artwork, such as the mural, at Chief Jim Koe Park, once work begins as the structures currently in the park will need to be demolished.

Consultations on how to modernize the park began six years ago with a community meeting.

One effect of a permanent visitor centre is that it will cover the tourism currently handled at the Town of Inuvik office.

During a Nov. 13 council meeting, Challis explained town staff are currently being pulled in two different directions dealing with both tourism customers and residents’ needs.

“Right now, when a visitor comes, our staff are not only doing dog tags, water licences they’re trying to do the actual business of running the town,” she said. “There’s also a group of 20 tourists coming in, trying to size a sweatshirt and figure out what key chain they should buy. To try and transition some of that into a facility that’s actually meant for that is part of the intention.”

The Town of Inuvik has released an document including a timeline and details of its public outreach for development of the park.

A concept design of the new Chief Jim Koe Park that was presented to council Nov. 13.
Photo courtesy Town of Inuvik

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

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