The federal heritage building at 419 Range Road closed off in Whitehorse on Oct. 29. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Federal building evacuated over structural concerns

The problem was discovered after a section of sidewalk collapsed

The federal heritage building at 419 Range Road has been closed, at least temporarily.

The building was evacuated Oct. 22, displacing approximately 90 Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Yukon government staff who worked there, due to ground conditions impacting the structure.

Signs have been placed around the property advising of the closure and warning those on the site to be cautious.

The building was “closed as a preventative measure for structural review and assessment of the building’s main entrance due to the discovery of a collapsed section of the subbase of the sidewalk,” Erin Macpherson, spokesperson with Public Services and Procurement Canada, wrote in an emailed statement.

She did not specify where federal employees have been moved.

Yukon Highways and Public Works Department spokesperson Oshea Jephson said there are approximately 47 Yukon government employees who work for the Yukon Water Board and Environment Yukon who would normally be based out of the building.

Jephson said the 24 Environment Yukon staff are now all working out of temporary office locations.

“Business has continued as usual,” he said.

Yukon Water Board employees have been moved temporarily to the Yukon government’s main administration building, he said.

Structural assessments are being done by an engineer to look at the structural integrity of the building and explore options.

“Until the building re-opens, departments have put in place alternate working arrangements for their employees,” Macpherson stated. “Tenants were able to retrieve the essential equipment and files that their employees needed to continue their work in an alternate location. All assets and files that remain in the building are secure.”

According to the Parks Canada directory of federal heritage designations, the building, which was constructed in 1952, is formally recognized as a federal heritage building because of its historical associations along with architectural and environmental values.

“Building 200 is very closely associated with the development of the north by the federal government, particularly with regard to surface transportation infrastructure,” the website says.

“Built as a principal barrack for the military base, it later became the building that served as the headquarters for the maintenance and development of the Alaska Highway in the post Second World War period. As one of Camp Takhini’s earliest and most prominent buildings, it also illustrates the importance of the establishment of the military base to the community of Whitehorse.”

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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