Electricity is still on at Mackenzie Place, the Hay River highrise that remains closed following a fire in March of last year.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

Hay River’s troubled Mackenzie Place highrise still has power.

Northland Utilities (NWT) Ltd. had set a Nov. 6 deadline for an electricity payment or the power would be cut off to the 16-storey building, which has been closed since a fire in March of last year.

Erin Newell-Lupien, a senior communications adviser with ATCO, the parent company of Northland Utilities, said a payment was made to cover 30 days.

“And so the building will still continue to have power as long as payments continue to be made,” said Newell-Lupien. “We’re in a good position now. I know there are a lot of challenges with that building. We’re just pleased that we can keep the power on for as long as we can.”

Harry Satdeo, the owner of the building, confirmed it still has electricity.

“We paid the bill, so we’re pleased that the power is on,” he said.

Satdeo noted he paid $5,500 by Nov. 6, which covered a month.

“We have some arrears that we’re catching up on,” he said, although he declined to say the amount of the arrears.

While no one is living in the building, there are tenants renting space for such things as antennas on the roof.

Satdeo is confident the power will remain on all winter.

The possibility of power being cut off at Mackenzie Place arose in the Legislative Assembly on Oct. 30.

Hay River South MLA Rocky Simpson asked if the territorial government would commit to keeping the power on in the highrise to ensure aircraft and passenger safety, noting a lack of power would shut down an aircraft warning beacon atop the structure.

Infrastructure Minister Diane Archie noted the owner of a private building is responsible for complying with federal aviation regulations.

Since the fire last year, a public health order has closed the building to the public based on the risk of exposure to asbestos and mould, among other things.

Sections of the building, which contains about 122 apartments, suffered fire, smoke and/or water damage. The fire was in an apartment on the 11th floor.

About 125 people were displaced by the blaze.

Satdeo has said about 70 apartments are ready for occupancy.

The GNWT is planning to look into whether the building can be occupied through a third-party review of reports prepared for Satdeo Inc.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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