Downtown Yellownife’s 50 Street is in for a makeover this spring — a welcome change for at least one area property owner who says she’s been waiting on the upgrade for nearly a decade.
“…for them to actually pave this, and redo it, and not just patch it, I’m absolutely in favor of that,” said April Desjarlais, the owner of the Finn Hansen Building since 2013.
April Desjarlais has owned the Finn Hansen Building on 50 street since 2013.
The street is included in the city’s 2022 paving plan.
“One of the reasons I was so attracted to buying this building is because there was a lot of talk back then on beautification at 50 St,” Desjarlais said. “Of course, it’s certainly a historical street, it’s got a lot of history in the downtown core of Yellowknife.”
“I thought; ‘Oh, this will be exciting to be a part of something’,” she said.
As of right now, the street is only set to receive paving (and patch work as well). However, according to the purpose of the paving program in The City’s 2022 Capitol Projects, the City will set out to “repair or replace asphalt, concrete and other appurtenances on city streets as required, including storm water infrastructure.”
“This project also installs concrete, asphalt and landscaping (if specified) on newly developed streets in the city.”
Going back through the City’s Capitol Projects, the reconstruction/beautification of 50 St is an item that has been on the City’s Capitol Projects list dating back to 2014.
According to Desjarlais, the city during that time had engaged with a number of engineers and urban planners from the southern region of the country.
“They came in with all these amazing engineering drawings of how they were going to beautify (it),” she said. “Then, of course, that all got axed and we were sort of left with sidewalks that are completely not safe. Every year they’re being patched.”
Desjarlais also mentioned she’s received a few fines for the poor quality of the sidewalks in front of her building.
“When we do the snow clearing our contractor can’t get to the base of the sidewalk,” she explained. “It’s just not possible because it’s just been patched so many times, year after year. It’s not safe.”
So far, property owners on the street say they have yet to hear from the city on the project.
In 2021 street work started at the end of May and the city notified property owners by letter two weeks prior.
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Desjarlias said she’s looking forward to connecting with the city over curbside upgrades.
“There’s a lot of things that I’d like to do as well,” she said. “Ensuring that our entrances meet up properly with the sidewalks there, have a proper safe standard.”
“We have tenants in the building who have their own clients as well, that visit the building on a regular, daily basis,” she continued. “So it will be really important for the city to communicate what they plan on doing because it certainly will be a disruption for the housing authority who do have a number of clients that visit our building.”