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City says SideDoor/YWCA lease 'placed on hold' until shelter emergency is done; organizations find alternative location

11minerescuebuilding41.jpg Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo The Mine Rescue Building on 49 Avenue was seeing life this week after the GNWT announced an emergency measure to use the space for temporary day shelter service on Nov. 6. A red fence has also been erected with its neighbouring property Overlander Sports.

The SideDoor Youth Centre and YWCA NWT have found new office space on Franklin Avenue after the GNWT's state of emergency nullified their pending lease with the City of Yellowknife to occupy the Mine Rescue building.

Hawa Dumbaya-Sesay, executive director of YWCA NWT, said this week that she and Tammy Roberts, executive director of SideDoor, were finalizing the use of the office space above the Canada Post Office – formerly occupied by the Native Women's Association of the NWT.

The YWCA NWT and SideDoor will jointly occupy the upper level of the Canada Post Office – formerly the side of the Native Women's Association of the NWT – until the GNWT's emergency use of the Mine Rescue building as temporary shelter space is completed May 31, 2021.
NNSL file photo

The City of Yellowknife confirmed in a statement last week that a lease for SideDoor and YWCA to use the city-0wned Mine Rescue building had been granted prior to the GNWT declaring a state of emergency on Nov. 6, which turned the space into a temporary day shelter, which is the way it's expected to remain until May 31, 2021.

As a result, "all processes related to the potential lease were placed on hold," said Alison Harrower, media spokesperson for the city.

Harrower stated that the city is looking forward to working with SideDoor and the YWCA to finalize the lease "for implementation in 2021."

"The city continues to work with SideDoor on their application for space to be used by themselves and the YWCA," Harrower stated. "We remain hopeful that an option arises that can meet their needs in the interim."

Dumbaya-Sesay said she expects that once the move into the space above the Canada Post Office is finalized in early January, her organization will use the location for the next several months and then explore the possibility of occupying the Mine Rescue building at the end of May when the GNWT vacates the location.