Soil contamination delays opening of new Salvation Army shelter

Fuel contamination downtown has delayed the opening of Whitehorse’s new Salvation Army facility.

Fuel contamination downtown has delayed the opening of Whitehorse’s new Salvation Army facility.

The project was first announced in April 2015. The new facility, at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Black Street, was expected to open by the fall of 2016.

The health department now says the construction work won’t be done until April and the doors will open sometime after that.

The Yukon government agreed to spend $10.2 million on the project to replace the old, much smaller building nearby.

A statement from the health department says it always knew the site was going to need work to clean up the soil. It used to be a gas station and automotive repair shop.

“Initial soil remediation was undertaken in late September 2015, however after testing it was determined that further remediation was required in one location,” spokesperson Pat Living wrote in an email.

That extra work happened in early October 2015. Details about exactly how much contamination was found at the site were not available by deadline.

There’s also no word on how much the delays have cost the government. Public works spokesperson Doris Wurfbaum said the total cost was still being calculated but the project is within budget.

Environment Yukon staff will be monitoring the groundwater at the site for at least the next five years.

All the contaminated soil on the property has been removed and the groundwater below the site isn’t moving, Living said.

Adding to the delays, Living said, construction crews found hazardous material, including asbestos, during demolition.

Part of the project also had to be redesigned. A new system was added under the building as a precautionary measure to protect the building in case the groundwater ever becomes contaminated, according to the Department of Highways and Public Works.

Once construction is complete, the new facility will be turned over to the Salvation Army. The old Salvation Army shelter downtown is expected to be sold.

The new digs are significantly larger than what the shelter has been functioning with to-date.

The building is expected to have 25 emergency beds and 22 transitional housing beds.

The current shelter has 14 beds, and often operates at 200 per cent capacity, with additional mats placed on the floor in common areas, officials said when the project was first announced.

Typically with emergency shelters, clients are expected to leave first thing in the morning, and take any belongings with them.

In transitional housing, clients will have their own space, where they can keep their own things.

Stays typically range from three months to a year, officials said at the time.

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

Benjamin Poudou, Mount MacIntyre’s ski club manager, poses for a photo in the club’s ski rental area on Nov. 16. The club has sold around 1,850 passes already this year, compared to 1067 passes on Oct. 31 last year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Early season ski pass sales up as Yukoners prepare for pandemic winter

Season passe sales at Mount McIntyre for cross-country skiing are up by around 60 per cent this year

The City of Whitehorse will be spending $655,000 to upgrade the waste heat recovery system at the Canada Games Centre. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New waste heat recovery system coming to the CGC

Council approves $655,000 project

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate education advocates and volunteers help to sort and distribute Christmas hamper grocery boxes outside Elijah Smith Elementary School on Feb. 23. (Rebecca Bradford Andrew/Submitted)
First Nation Education Directorate begins Christmas hamper program

Pick-ups for hampers are scheduled at local schools

Cyrine Candido, cashier, right, wipes down the new plexi-glass dividers at Superstore on March 28, before it was commonplace for them to wear masks. The Yukon government is relaunching the Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program as the second wave of COVID-19 begins to take place in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program extended to 32 weeks

More than 100 businesses in the territory applied for the first phase of the program

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read