Front Street seniors’ residence geared towards accessibility

The Yukon Housing Corporation has officially opened its newest seniors' residence, at Front Street and Ogilvie Street in Whitehorse.

The Yukon Housing Corporation has officially opened its newest seniors’ residence, at Front Street and Ogilvie Street in Whitehorse.

Premier Darrell Pasloski and Stacey Hassard, the minister responsible for the housing corporation, were on hand at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday.

“As a government, we are committed to a better quality of life for elders, and ensuring that more housing options are available to those who are most in need, such as seniors and persons with disabilities,” Pasloski said.

Hassard said the downtown location is ideal for a seniors’ residence because of “the proximity to the downtown core, for easy access to shopping and medical services, the wonderful library just across the street … (and) the flat terrain of the downtown area, which is suited for ease of walking and scooter or wheelchair use.”

The residence has 48 one-bedroom units for seniors who are living independently. Rent will be geared to income, meaning tenants will pay 25 per cent of their gross income in rent. Matt King, Yukon Housing’s vice-president of operations, said the average income of Yukon Housing tenants is about $23,500.

King said there are currently about 65 seniors on the wait list for social housing. He said over 60 people from the list have already visited the new apartments, and 38 have decided to move in. The first two people are moving in today.

“We are pretty confident it’ll be fully allocated within the next month,” he said.

This is the third Yukon Housing seniors’ residence to open in less than two years. The 34-unit Alexander Street residence opened in November 2014, and a six-unit residence in Mayo was unveiled last August.

All 48 units of the new residence have a bedroom, a bathroom and an open living area that includes a kitchen with a dishwasher, stovetop and oven. Most of the rooms have balconies, and all have large windows, some overlooking the Yukon River and others facing Shipyards Park.

All of the units have accessible features, including grab bars on either side of the toilet and right-angle, lever-type door handles that can be opened with a closed fist. The building also has smooth-surface flooring for wheelchairs and electrical outlets for recharging motorized scooters.

Ten of the units are barrier-free, for residents who use wheelchairs. They feature a roll-in shower and a sink and countertop unit that can be raised and lowered. All of the light switches and electrical outlets have been placed at an appropriate height for someone in a wheelchair, and the stovetop has controls at the front of the appliance, so residents don’t have to reach across hot elements to work the dials.

“Everything that was done like this was done on purpose. There were no accidents,” said Rick Goodfellow, executive director of Challenge-Disability Resource Group, who worked with Yukon Housing’s accessibility advisory committee to make design recommendations for the new residence. “This is now a standard. The standard has been set by Yukon Housing that this is the way that you design things.”

Goodfellow said most Yukon homes are not accessible, which makes it difficult for people to age in place if they lose mobility. He said the new residence offers a solution.

“Somebody can move in here and if they have a stroke, if their situation deteriorates for any reason whatsoever, guess what? They don’t have to move. They can still stay here.”

The Front Street residence was also built with a number of energy-efficient features, including triple-paned, argon-filled windows and R40 and R60 insulation in the exterior walls and ceiling, respectively. It also has electric heating.

“In basic terms, this is a snug, energy-efficient, non-polluting building,” Hassard said.

The residence was built by Whitehorse-based NGC Builders in a little over a year. Doug Gilday, the company’s co-owner, said the biggest challenge with this kind of project is getting everything done on time. NGC Builders also built the Alexander Street seniors’ residence.

“When we start, there is no design. It starts with a statement of requirements, which is just a prescription for what the building should look like,” he said. “And then from that you have to do a lot of consultation and … create the design in a pretty short time frame in order to commence construction. That’s where the challenges lie.”

The residence cost $12.1 million to build. The Yukon government had originally budgeted $16 million for the project.

Contact Maura Forrest at

maura.forrest@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

Diane McLeod-McKay, Yukon’s Ombudsman and information and privacy commissioner, filed a petition on Dec. 11 after her office was barred from accessing documents related to a child and family services case. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government rejects Ombudsman requests for documentation filed to Supreme Court

Diane McLeod-McKay filed a petition on Dec. 11 after requests for documents were barred

Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens, left, celebrates his first NHL goal with defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen during the second period of a game against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 22 in Washington. (Nick Wass/AP)
Cozens notches first NHL goal in loss to Capitals

The Yukoner potted his first tally at 10:43 of the second period on Jan. 22

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

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

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

Most Read