Town hall gets new digs

Sarah Ladik/NNSL photo Hay River's Jameson's True Value Hardware is expected to close at the end of this summer. Hay River Chamber of Commerce president Janet-Marie Fizer points to mounting challenges to doing business in the NWT as contributing factor to the closure of approximately 16 Hay River businesses over the past few years.

Sarah Ladik/NNSL photo
Hay River’s Jameson’s True Value Hardware is expected to close at the end of this summer. Hay River Chamber of Commerce president Janet-Marie Fizer points to mounting challenges to doing business in the NWT as contributing factor to the closure of approximately 16 Hay River businesses over the past few years.

After months of camping out in the fire hall and other municipal buildings, town administrative staff members will have a proper home when they return to work.

“This is an interim solution until we explore all our options,” Mayor Andrew Cassidy said of the new office space where True Value Hardware had been located. “I think it’s pretty clear that the old town hall is done, we don’t want to re-invest in it, so we need to think of something else.”

But for now, administration at least will have a less-temporary roof over their heads. While public works staff will remain based in the municipal garage as they have been since town hall was vacated in July due to air quality concerns, the finance and administrative staff members will be located in the new offices, as will the mayor’s office and council chambers.

Although unionized employees are still on strike, Cassidy said managers are set to move into the new facility sometime this week. The town has agreed to a three-year lease for approximately $12,000 per month with the option to renew. Cassidy said the advantage of having the new location right downtown and so close to the old one is accessibility.

“We want it to be a welcoming place,” he said. “This is the customer-service face of the town, and we’re trying to make it as open and accessible as possible.”

Council meetings will be held in the new facility starting this week, but councillors christened the new chambers last week with a lunch meeting.

“We’re excited for our new home,” said deputy mayor Donna Lee Jungkind, adding that she thinks the space is a definite improvement over the old town hall.

–Sarah Ladik