The NWT Community Services Corporation plans to conduct a study of its housing operations ahead of the possible opening of a polytechnic university in Yellowknife.

The corporation has issued a Request For Proposals for a feasibility study to examine options for its Northern United Place affordable housing units.

NWT Community Services Corporation plans to conduct a study related to its Northern United Place building amid the possibility Aurora College will transition to a polytechnic university.
(Meaghan Richens/NNSL photo)

The study is estimated to cost about $20,000, as Gail Leonardis, executive director of the corporation told Yellowknifer.

Currently the building at 54th St. and Franklin Ave. houses 84 apartments for low-income earners and 75 per cent of the operating costs of the building come from the building’s commercial tenants, including Aurora College.

“With all the talk about a polytechnic university, the board of directors at the corporation realized that at some point in time the college might move out of Northern United Place,” Leonardis said.

The government’s intention to transition Aurora College into a polytechnic university was announced in July when education minister and now premier Caroline Cochrane said it would take five to six years to finish the project.

Leonardis said the feasibility study would seek to answer questions related to the outcome of the university plan.

“If the college moves out then where will funding come from to provide that social housing? How do we replace that funding? Is there another commercial tenant that could come in? The college also rents 40 units for student housing. If they’re turned back to us what do we do with them? Or do we look at providing those at full market rent or subsidized rent?”

The executive director emphasized that the corporation is a non-profit and won’t change the affordable housing status of Northern United Place.

“They wont become market rent apartments,” she said.

Blair McBride

Blair McBride covers the Legislative Assembly, business and education. Before coming to Yellowknife he worked as a journalist in British Columbia, Thailand and Ontario. He studied journalism at Western...

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