Territorial officials in Ross River to talk housing

Territorial housing and health inspectors are expected to finish their assessment of homes in Ross River by the end of today.

Territorial housing and health inspectors are expected to finish their assessment of homes in Ross River by the end of today.

Last year Chief Jack Caesar said his community was in “crisis,” living in unhealthy houses that were making people sick.

Many homes have become toxic because of mould and sewage issues, the chief said.

Housing Minister Pauline Frost and Community Services Minister John Streicker were in Ross River Wednesday to meet with the community and the Ross River Dena Council.

During last fall’s election campaign the Liberals promised to make housing in Ross River a priority, but it’s not clear yet whether that will mean offering any territorial money.

The Ross River Dena Council is one of three unsettled First Nations in Yukon, meaning money for housing comes from the federal government.

Helping Ross River might include territorial cash, Frost told the News Jan. 6. But it could also mean providing other types of support.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to put a lot of money on the table, it means that we’re going to work with the community,” she said.

The territorial government is looking into the possibility of shipping up social housing units, potentially from Faro, so families would have a place to stay while their homes are being repaired, Frost said.

More territorial officials could also be made available to help the First Nation come up with a solution.

It will depend on what the assessment report says, Frost said. The report is expected to be completed next week.

The minister said everything is being done in collaboration with the Ross River Dena Council.

“Nothing we do is without consent by the government there.”

A representative from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada was also at Wednesday’s meetings.

In the 2016-2017 federal budget the First Nation got $2.2 million for housing on top of the $600,000 it gets annually.

The additional money is to cover construction of three three-bedroom duplexes and includes $250,000 for repairing 10 homes, Frost said.

In his letter last year, Caesar said that wasn’t enough. He asked for $500,000 annually for the next three to five years to cover repairs on 10 homes a year.

According to the letter, the community needed emergency, temporary housing for 48 to 60 families before winter, if possible. That hasn’t happened yet.

Out of the First Nation’s 130 homes, 27 are still occupied even though they are affecting people’s health and need to be demolished, the chief said. Another 16 are so bad they’ve been abandoned.

Others are deteriorating or have “marginal” levels of toxicity.

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

Liberal leader Sandy Silver speaks outside his campaign headquarters in Dawson City following early poll results on April 12. (Robin Sharp/Yukon News)
BREAKING: Minority government results will wait on tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin

The Yukon Party and the Liberal Party currently have secured the same amount of seats

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Exposure notice issued for April 3 Air North flight

Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley has issued another… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Runners in the Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon race down the Yukon River near the Marwell industrial area in Whitehorse on Feb. 3, 2019.
Cold-weather exercise hard on the lungs

Amy Kenny Special to the Yukon News It might make you feel… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Most Read