Macaulay Lodge to be demolished for housing development

The contract was awarded to United North Construction Group.

The Yukon government has awarded the contract to demolish the Macaulay Lodge.

United North Construction Group has been awarded the $800,000 contract to demolish the former long-term care home in the Riverdale neighbourhood.

“The development for the Macaulay Lodge site aligns with the goals laid out in the housing action plan for Yukon — in the Yukon Housing Corporation’s strategic plan — by providing a rare opportunity to develop higher density housing in central Whitehorse we need,” said Minister Ranj Pillai.

Demolition of the building will begin this April and is anticipated to be completed by fall 2022, according to the government. Long-term, the site will be remediated and redeveloped in order to make room for affordable housing.

In the house on March 17, opposition MLAs raised concern about contamination on the site and the costs of clean-up. Clarke noted that, in addition to a fuel spill dating to 2014, there is likely asbestos on-site to be disposed of.

“The work plan to remove asbestos and other materials includes containment, disposal, and safety measures for the project. The work plan also calls for the contractor to conduct air monitoring tests,” he said.

The government originally announced the plan to demolish the lodge in November, after a building assessment determined the building was in too poor a condition to renovate.

Long-term plans

After the demolition and clean-up of the site, the government plans to build housing on the five-lot property. Pillai said an expression of interest for the development of housing on the site is expected in the coming days.

“This announcement builds on our recent work to increase the availability of homes in the territory,” he said.

Pillai suggested the property offers an opportunity for high-density housing in an established walkable neighbourhood near schools and bus routes.

He also said the government does not have current plans to develop the sixth lot on the property, which is currently green space.

NDP leader Kate White said she’d like to see high-density and affordable units on the site, potentially with some under the Yukon Housing Corporation umbrella.

“I think we’ve got to look towards high density. Whether they’re for individuals or families or a combination of that, I think it’s really important,” she said. “I’d like to see a truly affordable aspect to that lot. Understanding that whoever does get that [contract] will probably be looking at doing rentals themselves.”

The Yukon Party tried to nail down costs associated with the remediation of the site, but Pillai said valuation will depend on a later assessment.

“We were trying to find out today was what the potential costs of, of mitigating those contaminants would be,” said opposition member Scott Kent.

Pillai said the government will work with the city on zoning.

Contact Haley Ritchie at haley.ritchie@yukon-news.com