Feds pledge nearly $10 million for Dawson historic sites and Kluane National Park

The federal government is investing $9.9 million to improve historic sites in Dawson City and infrastructure in Kluane National Park.

The federal government is investing $9.9 million to improve historic sites in Dawson City and infrastructure in Kluane National Park.

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell made the announcement in Dawson City on Saturday.

The bulk of the money will go towards rehabilitating Dawson’s territorial courthouse with $3.9 million and Dredge No. 4 with $3.2 million.

Last year about $13.7 million was invested for other Parks Canada buildings including St. Andrew’s Church.

The Conservatives pledged about $2.5 million for Dredge No. 4 at the time.

“The buildings will just rot away if we don’t preserve them,” Bagnell told the News today.

Dawson’s historic sites are one of the crucial features that attract tourists, he said.

“That brings thousands of tourists to Dawson who wouldn’t otherwise go there.”

Bagnell said the work should be completed by 2020.

Some of the work will start this summer and long-term repairs will be done over the three following summers.

The Dawson courthouse was built in 1901.

It hasn’t been used since 2010 when the Yukon government and Yukon College moved out of the building.

Work will include removing hazardous materials, bringing it up to safety standards, installing a new heating and ventilation system while conserving the original interior “where feasible,” according to a government statement.

For Dredge No. 4, the money will go towards completing the stabilization of the bow and the stern.

Work on the bow first started in 2010.

Repairs will also done at the Dawson Daily News, Ruby’s Place, St. Andrew’s Church, and the Third Avenue Complex.

Building foundations as well as interior insulation and general rehabilitation are planned for those buildings.

Part of the money will also go towards upgrading the Kathleen Lake campground in Kluane National Park and improving the boat launch.

The Tachal Dhal Visitor Centre will also be renovated.

What remains unknown is whether funding previously cut for Parks Canada positions in the Yukon will be reinstated.

Back in 2012 the Conservatives cut about 30 jobs throughout the territory.

Since then Parks Canada hasn’t been offering guided tours of the SS Klondike or Dredge No. 4.

Tourists can book private contractors to tour the sites.

The territory’s MP says he’s been lobbying the government to reinstate the funding.

“We committed to replacing the money cut in 2012,” Bagnell said.

“(But) we didn’t say where it was going to be spent.”

On top of interpretative guides, curatorial positions dealing with preserving the city’s large collection of artifacts were also eliminated.

“It’s very important the jobs that do the curatorial work on our priceless assets are reinstated,” Bagnell said.

The programming jobs are important too, he pointed out.

“Those types of jobs, we’re telling Parks Canada how important it is to the Yukon.

“We don’t know at this time whether we’re going to be successful.”

Contact Pierre Chauvin at

pierre.chauvin@yukon-news.com

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