The federal government is investing over $13 million towards upgrading the infrastructure at several Parks Canada sites across the territory, including the structural rehabilitation of St. Andrew’s Church on the Chilkoot Trail and the bow stabilization of Dawson City’s Dredge No. 4.
Yukon MP Ryan Leef made the announcement this morning from the S.S. Klondike National Historic Site, where he explained that the Yukon portion of the funds is part of the $2.6 billion the federal government announced it was investing in Parks Canada back in March.
“All of these investments will ensure local jobs and local opportunities for work and employment, and will ensure a long-lasting legacy for the territory and the communities that enjoy these sites,” Leef said.
“We’ve known for quite some time that the facilities needed upgrades.”
In 2012, big cuts to Parks Canada resulted in the agency shedding about 30 jobs in the territory. Among the lost jobs were the interpretive guides for both the SS Klondike and Dredge No. 4.
Contractors now offer guided tours at both sites.
Visitors at the sternwheeler are able to view most of the ship without a guide, but the inside of the dredge is off-limits unless you are part of a company-led tour.
The work at St. Andrew’s Church will include a roof replacement as well as fire suppression modifications to the tune of $450,000, while the Kluane Farm Site and existing Parks Canada administrative operations building will be consolidated into one location in Haines Junction at a cost of $3.6 million.
Other work includes rehabilitation of the Lindeman Camp Site, also along the Chilkoot Trail.
The camp area is over 40 years old and the buildings are in poor condition, according to a news release, and will receive “a number of upgrades including a staff living/office facility and visitor first aid room.”
Foundation work will be carried out at both the Joe Boyle House and the Bear Creek Machine Shop in Dawson City, while the Palace Grand Theatre will receive $3.8 million in rehabilitation work required to “ensure visitor safety.”
In Whitehorse, $455,000 has been earmarked for the replacement of the S.S. Klondike’s irrigation system and aging deck.
Leef said tenders for some of the work have already been posted, with others to come in the near future.
“There’s great opportunity here for Yukon companies to be involved in bidding on these jobs and that’ll create jobs and improved economy in some of these small communities,” he said.
Yukon’s national parks and historic sites welcome more than 75,000 visitors every year, according to the release.
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