Old Crow residents left without a grocery store

The construction of a new co-operative retail store in Old Crow is months behind schedule, leaving residents with few options when it comes to food and supplies.

The construction of a new co-operative retail store in Old Crow is months behind schedule, leaving residents with few options when it comes to food and supplies.

When plans for the store were originally announced in November 2013, the goal was to have it open by July this year.

But one of the eight founding directors now says the opening won’t be for another couple of months.

“The building is under construction and will be completed in the New Year, possibly by March,” said Tracy Rispin in an email.

The Northern store closed recently, anticipating the opening of the co-op.

Now residents of the fly-in community are forced to rely a lot more on food shipped from Whitehorse.

Roger Kyikavichik, recently elected chief of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, said a local non-profit started selling staples to residents.

“There is some food being sold here, like bread, eggs, sugar and milk,” he said.

“For me it’s been alright but I know that for most people who have children, they find it hard. More people are getting their food from Whitehorse.”

There might be plans for the people behind the co-op to start selling food out of the old Northern store, but that remains to be confirmed, he said.

The idea for the store came about when residents spoke out against the high cost of food in the community.

“The reason we want a co-op store is to decrease the high prices of good food in our community,” said Rispin at the time.

“As you know, we’re an isolated community and we have all our produce and groceries flown in.”

The Northern store used to benefit from the federal Nutrition North program, which subsidizes shipping prices for retailers on healthy foods, but residents said they preferred the older Food Mail program.

That program allowed them to buy their own groceries in Whitehorse and ship them at subsidized rates.

Old Crow residents lobbied to keep the personal shipping subsidy, but it is greatly reduced under the new system.

Under the Nutrition North Canada program, residents pay $0.83 per kilogram in shipping on most nutritious perishable foods, such as fresh fruit, vegetables and meat.

A less subsidized rate – $2.63 per kilogram – applies to other eligible foods, such as flour, crackers and ice cream.

The co-op is being built next to the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation’s maintenance compound.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

Members of the RCMP’s traffic services team examine police markers on Range Road after a six-year-old boy was struck by a vehicle near the Takhini Arena in Whitehorse on Oct. 25. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Six-year-old hit by vehicle near Takhini Arena

Police were called to the scene around 12:15 p.m. on Oct. 25

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. Two new cases of COVID-19 were identified in Watson Lake over the weekend. The cases are connected to three others in the community previously announced by officials on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Two additional COVID-19 cases in Watson Lake bring total up to five

Individuals with symptoms and connections to the three other cases were tested over the weekend

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Watson Lake on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three new COVID-19 cases identified in Watson Lake

The Yukon government has identified three locations in town where public exposure may have occurred

Teagan Wiebe, left, and Amie Wiebe pose for a photo with props during The Guild’s haunted house dress rehearsal on Oct. 23. The Heart of Riverdale Community Centre will be hosting its second annual Halloween haunted house on Oct. 30 and 31, with this year’s theme being a plague. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Plague-themed haunted house to take over Heart of Riverdale for Halloween

A plague will be descending upon the Heart of Riverdale Community Centre… Continue reading

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging the reduction of its caribou quota to zero. (Yukon News file)
YG replies to outfitter’s legal challenge over caribou quota

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging… Continue reading

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this year, saying that with COVID-19, it’s “more important than ever.” (Black Press file)
Get flu vaccine, Yukon government urges

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

asdf
COMMENTARY: Me and systemic racism

The view from a place of privilege

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Electricity and air travel

Letters to the editor published Oct. 23, 2020

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Irony versus Climate

Lately it seems like Irony has taken over as Editor-in-Chief at media… Continue reading