NDP wants old nurses’ residence to house homeless

Liz Hanson says the four-year-planned demolition of the Whitehorse hospital's old residence is "not acceptable.

Liz Hanson says the four-year-planned demolition of the Whitehorse hospital’s old residence is “not acceptable.”

The NDP leader was shocked to discover the building at 1 Hospital Road was being prepped for demolition this week.

After all the tenants moved out, the Yukon Hospital Corporation told Northwestel to cut all the cable and phone lines, the telco confirmed Tuesday.

But the government should not demolish a public building that could provide shelter to people who need it this winter, said Hanson.

“There are no emergency accommodations in this town,” she said. “This at least has running water, windows and toilets, which would be a nice alternative to the tents people are living in.”

The former residence is more than 60 years old, said Yukon Hospital Corporation CEO Joe MacGillivray.

And the building, which is often referred to as “the gulag,” has a leaky roof, was built with asbestos and its heating system needs to be replaced, he added.

“To be frank, we’re having a hard time heating it right now,” he said. “When we initially were looking at building a new residence, we looked at the old residence and there was a decision made at that time that it would cost too much to actually put it back into repair.”

The building is scheduled to be torn down before the end of the year. The corporation still has to tender the demolition and get a few more permits, said MacGillivray.

This will grant Hanson’s wish for the government to hold off demolition until the election is over, at least, to allow the newly elected government to make a final decision on whether the building can be used as a temporary shelter.

Even when hypothetical scenarios, in which the territory would foot the heating bill, were posed to MacGillivray, he seemed reluctant to entertain using the building as a temporary homeless shelter.

“Obviously, if there was a request, if there was an interest in using it for some other use, but we did look at it initially and it was deemed that it was not suitable for repair at this point in time,” he said. “We looked at the building and we came to the conclusion that it made sense to replace it rather than to put more money into it.”

The hospital’s new residence for visiting medical specialists, temporary and summer relief staff, medical residents, nursing students and other health-care professionals, started being used in March.

Called Crocus Ridge, it has two floors, the top with 34 residence units and the bottom with office space. It cost $17.8 million to build. The hospital corporation owns and manages all buildings located on the Whitehorse hospital campus.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at


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

Just Posted

A Copper Ridge resident clears their driveway after a massive over night snowfall in Whitehorse on Nov. 2, 2020. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the Whitehorse and Haines Junction areas for Jan. 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Winter storm warning for Haines Junction and Whitehorse

Environment Canada says the storm will develop Monday and last until Tuesday

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

Most Read