On June 20, the Government of the Northwest Territories released its fifth Quarterly Report on the Aurora College Transformation, which provides more details surrounding its choice of Tin Can Hill over other locations for a new polytechnic university in the community.
Highlights from the June report discuss completed and forthcoming activities for the second phase of the Aurora College Transformation, such as information on the Facilities Master Plan (FMP) and an update on the re-establishment of the Aurora College Board of Governors.
Regarding the site selection process for the campus, three different types of university locations were initially taken into account: central zone, downtown integrated and peripheral zone.
Among the three, the GNWT had decided on central zone, which featured five possible locations:
–Old Airport Road/Frame Lake: This site was removed from consideration because the availability of land in the area is limited by an interim land withdrawal.
–Niven Phase III: This site was taken out of consideration by the land owner(s).
–Con Mine: This site was ruled out due to potential environmental liabilities and timing of availability.
–Taylor Road South: This site was removed from consideration due to location. It is surrounded by old tailings ponds from Con Mine that significantly limit the potential for establishing a campus.
–Tin Can Hill: This site was reviewed multiple times and considered in the context of technical requirement, design limitations and opportunities for future expansion. Based on all gathered information, it was identified as most optimal.
Additional qualities that the territorial government identified in favour of Tin Can Hill included:
– Size: The location has to be large enough to accommodate all required campus facilities, campus grounds and future expansions while also establishing and maintaining a sizable natural preserve on site.
– Character: Tin Can Hill is an undeveloped site exemplifying the rocky, treed landscape of the subarctic Canadian Shield. It occupies a wide waterfront with unencumbered views and direct access to Great Slave Lake. The site creates a feeling of being embedded in nature, and even being remote to the city, making it an ideal locale for establishing a peaceful and secure environment.
– Location: A 10-minute walk from the downtown core. Services and amenities such as grocery stores, restaurants, retail, banks, and government services within walking distance. In addition, an existing transit line runs down School Draw Avenue and could be extended to the new campus.
– Current use/ownership: Currently owned by the City of Yellowknife, Tin Can Hill is primarily used as a recreational site by dog-walkers and skiers. This use can be maintained and potentially enhanced on the natural preserve that is intended to occupy a large portion of the new campus grounds.
The report states that site selection for the North Slave campus is critical for the completion of the Aurora College Facilities Master Plan, which is set to be completed this summer.
The Facilites Master Plan will provide a roadmap for the growth of Aurora College facilities over the next 20 years.