The new seniors’ facility in Fort Good Hope should be ready for occupancy this March, officials say—more than a year after it was officially opened.

Minister Paulie Chinna confirmed at the Nov. 2 Assembly sitting that the electrical assessment for the building was being finalized, and a structural assessment was underway.

Yellowknife North MLA Rylund Johnson asked Chinna why the facility was only ready for occupancy thirteen months after it had been officially opened in February 2021.

“Can someone just explain to me what is going on here?” he asked.

Chinna explained that after the official opening, the office of the fire marshall discovered that further work was needed to bring the building’s fire safety up to code, in particular the fire separation between units. “We want these buildings to be designed to protect and give adequate time for people to get out of their units should a fire occur in one of the other units,” said Chinna.

She said the Department agreed with the fire marshall’s assessment and would continue to work closely with the marshall to ensure best practices.

Johnson asked what the Housing Corporation would do to make sure buildings weren’t opened before being up to code in the future.

“This has happened to the GNWT multiple times, where we’ve opened buildings, and then there’s been, in this case, a one-year delay before the building’s actually opened,” he said.

Chinna responded, saying only that the corporation was working closely with regulatory authorities and would work with staff and contractors to ensure better awareness of building standards.

Member Kevin O’Reilly suggested that the territory’s lack of a building standards act might have been to blame for the delay. The NWT is the only jurisdiction in Canada without such an act.

“I think this is what’s at the root of the problem, is the lack of a building standards act here,” he said.

In response, Minister for Municipal and Community Affairs Shane Thompson said his department was backlogged with other pieces of legislation, but would address it if possible.

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  1. Another fine example of Minister Chinna’s handing out sole source contracts to friends and family. Nothing about cost over runs and giving contracts to organizations that have no idea of how to build a building. A sad waste of taxpayers dollars!