First Nation stake grows in Northern Vision

Northern Vision Development always planned to work in Yukon. But the original intention wasn't to stay this long. "When we started, we said that we would probably only last a certain period of time."

Northern Vision Development always planned to work in Yukon. But the original intention wasn’t to stay this long.

“When we started, we said that we would probably only last a certain period of time,” said Richard Thompson, president and CEO. “The reason that you set up a limited partnership is because you’re basically going in, buying some real estate, you’re going to develop it, you’re going to sell it and it’s going to have a limited life span. But what happened was when we got into the Yukon, we realized early on that there were substantial opportunities there for an operating company.

“Very early in the day, we decided that we were going to want to extend the life of our partnership.”

This meant Northern Vision had to become more like a company, with an indefinite lifetime.

Efforts to make changes started shortly after the partnership formed in 2004, and last week, the Whitehorse-based group of hotel proprietors and property developers took the last necessary step.

Partners needed an opportunity to cash out. And the group needed to open up to new partners looking to join.

The change means Northern Vision went from being made up largely of Calgary-based businessmen working in Whitehorse, to a majority ownership of Yukoners working in their own backyards.

“More than 50 per cent of our ownership is now Yukon-based,” said Thompson. “To us, that’s a significant milestone. We’ve always felt welcome and a part of the Yukon and Whitehorse communities, but now we are also majority owned by Yukoners.

“We’re in it for the long term in the Yukon.”

The group’s capital has grown by five per cent, while unitholders have dropped from about 150 to 100.

“We are now owned by people who have bigger stakes in the company, but we have less of them overall,” he said.

This also translated into Yukon First Nations representing about 35 per cent of the partnership.

The Carcross/Tagish First Nation’s trust and the Ta’an Kwach’an Council have joined other aboriginal groups like the Yukon Indian Development Corporation in the partnership. The Tr’ondek Hwech’in’s trust now stands as the largest, single unitholder.

These changes mean Northern Vision is better equipped to grow in the territory, said Thompson.

“We wanted to put ourselves in a position where we could raise money as we need it for opportunities,” he said. “Under our past limited-partnership structure, it was difficult for us to raise new money but now it’s much easier. We’ve made the modifications to our company to allow us to raise money so that we can pursue all the opportunities that are in front of us.”

And considering the group’s new “strategic” partners, more and more opportunities may pop up.

Northern Vision has always been focused on Whitehorse, and that won’t change, said Thompson. But early talks have started about possible developments in Dawson City and Carcross, he said.

For the immediate future, however, the company will keep plugging away at running the High Country and Gold Rush inns in Whitehorse, as well as building up a “mixed-use community on the waterfront.”

The group’s River’s Reach condos near Earl’s restaurant at Spook Creek were finished in June and the store-bottomed, condo-topped construction beside Boston Pizza, called Waterfront Station, is also nearly finished and already 70 per cent leased or sold.

Those two developments only represent about 30 to 40 per cent of Northern Vision’s land in that area. Thompson can’t announce yet what else they have planned for that land, nor could he confirm what restaurant is planning to move into the Waterfront Station, along with other businesses.

“We’re really proud with what we’ve done with River’s Reach and Waterfront Station,” he said. “We think they’re both really nice buildings and that they both really add something to Whitehorse, and we think that we can continue to do that.”

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited internet options beginning Dec. 1. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet for some available Dec. 1

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited… Continue reading

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Most Read