The new old tower

The Old Fire Hall is getting a $110,000 facelift. The federal money will be used to build a bell tower to memorialize one that used to sit atop of the building when it was a fire hall.

The Old Fire Hall is getting a $110,000 facelift.

The federal money will be used to build a bell tower to memorialize one that used to sit atop of the building when it was a fire hall.

But the new tower, which will be mounted directly over the doorway, won’t actually resemble the original.

“It’s a sympathetic reconstruction,” said Yukon historic sites manager Doug Olynyk. “It’s not intended to be historically accurate.”

The original tower used to reach all the way to the ground and housed a bell.

The new one won’t.

Money for the project is flowing from a Canadian Strategic Infrastructure Fund grant that was given to the Yukon government in 2006.

But that money could be better spent, said city Councillor Betty Irwin at a council meeting last month.

“One hundred and ten thousand dollars is a rather frivolous waste of money,” she said.

“They just authorized $25,000 to be sent to Haiti and they’re going to spend $110,000 on a building that has no historical relevance.”

The issue came before council because the steeple will encroach on a city-owned sidewalk on First Avenue.

The city voted to allow the encroachment. The Yukon government will begin construction in the summer and hopes to be done by Christmas, said Olynyk.

The tower, when completed, will act as a “focal point” for the waterfront, he said.