Archive storage plans delayed

The government announced in October that construction on a new vault would begin in spring 2013. But that plan turned out to be too expensive, so other options are now being considered, said Mike Nixon, minister of tourism and culture.


Plans to build more storage space at the Yukon Archives have been put on hold.


The government announced in October that construction on a new vault would begin in spring 2013. But that plan turned out to be too expensive, so other options are now being considered, said Mike Nixon, minister of tourism and culture.

The government has been looking at options for more space for at least six years.

“In 2007, Yukon Archives and the property management division explored options for expanding the Yukon Archives facility,” according to a 2012 document commemorating the archive’s 40th anniversary. “The existing vaults are nearly full and more storage space is needed.”

Inside one of the archives’ existing vaults, shelves are full but not overflowing. It looks like a well-organized basement storage space, with some, but not lots, of room to spare.

The room is carefully climate-controlled. Red pipes overhead contain a fire suppressant liquid. It turns to a gas when released and suffocates the fire without damaging the records. Amazingly, it is also non-toxic to humans.

The shelves are about 83 per cent full, said David Schlosser, the acting territorial archivist.

“We are getting full. We’re in a business that continually grows – we continue to acquire new material every year.”

There’s room for approximately 4,200 additional banker’s boxes worth of material, he said. While it is impossible to say how long it will take to fill that space, the archive forecasts that it will receive around 1,500 banker’s boxes of material over the next three years, said Schlosser.

The staff now spend more time sorting and processing materials in order to maximize the existing space, he said.

On October 16, 2012, the government announced that Kobayashi + Zedda Architects had been awarded a $270,000 contract “to create design and construction specifications for the expanded storage.”

But the project started to look more expensive than the government had planned.

“We’ve kind of put the project on hold a little bit,” said Nixon. “We want to look at how we can move forward with this project in the most fiscally responsible way.”

Now the government is looking at partnerships with paleontology and archeology programs, as well as the permanent art collection, to find storage solutions, said Nixon.

“They’re all facing the same issue as Archives,” he said.

The NDP Opposition questioned the government on the delayed plans in the legislature last week.

“My biggest concern is that they made it sound last week like it’s going to be hodgepodge,” said MLA Kate White in an interview. “You know, there’s some closet space up at this office, they’re going to get some documents in there. But that’s not document management, or care.

“Breaking promises isn’t fiscally responsible. I’m taking a poll and figuring out how many times they’re going to respond to something they said they’d do and they changed their mind with the term ‘fiscal responsibility.’”

Archives are more than pretty pictures, said White.

“When there’s a civil war or something erupting in the country, they blow up archives and libraries. And part of the reason for archives, is it keeps governments honest. It has all the information of how they got to these decisions, within archives.”

The government is currently working on a functional space analysis, which should be completed this summer, said Nixon.

“By late summer, early fall, we should have a better sense of how we can proceed with this.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson 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