Yellowknife city council will be asked to consider allocating funds toward a temporary day shelter in a special council meeting on Thursday.

Senior Administrative Officer Sheila Bassi-Kellett gave public notice of the special meeting on Tuesday afternoon stating that the city’s community advisory board on homelessness is proposing to use money obtained from Reaching Home, a federal homelessness fund, for the shelter.

Click here to watch the City of Yellowknife’s  livestream starting at 12:05 p.m. Oct. 29.

Funding for temporary structure

Mayor Rebecca Alty said the city learned it was successful in getting $1.469 million last Friday and the advisory board is recommending that a portion of the money go toward constructing a temporary day shelter to lease for free to the Government of the Northwest Territories.

The proposal will be up to council to approve on Thursday but will allow the city to find a solution for homeless needs.

Last week, NNSL Media reported that a federal public works building on 44 Street was considered, but the city proposal, if approved will allow the homelessness issue to be approved in shorter order.

“It couldn’t have fallen into our laps at a better time, ” Alty said of the announcement.  

“We had a challenge with the 44 Street location. I can foresee an appeal coming forward in that situation with the development appeal board and the process could then take up to three months.”

Provided the temporary structure is built on city property, Alty said that the city will not be subject to a development appeal board hearing.

“In the zoning bylaw we can put up temporary structures and no development permits are required so it wouldn’t impact development,” she said. If they were to occupy an existing building, any modifications or renovations may require such paperwork. 

The mayor hopes that after Thursday with an approval by council that the city can issue a request for proposal to construct a temporary day shelter.

The city has also let the GNWT know and was waiting for its blessing on Tuesday afternoon and a location still needs to be found, Alty said.

The structure will also likely be provided for 30 to 50 people up to the end of April, as opposed to the end of March as had been proposed by the GNWT.

“In the meantime we want to get council’s approval to proceed and get procurement documents going for companies to bid on and just get the ball rolling,” she said. “We think (a request for proposals) is the fastest way.” 

In recent weeks, city council has discussed the idea of using explorer style tents and Alty said that another option is using the popular fabric Sprung Structures. These details are yet to be determined.

“We will look at some options, but what people should know is that this not a camping tent – it will be quite a bit more durable and heated and with washrooms,” she said. 

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa. Simon can be reached at...

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