Town officials have closed parts of the Art and Margaret Fry Recreation Centre in Dawson City due to concerns about melting permafrost. (Chris Windeyer/Yukon News)

Unsteady ground closes part of Dawson City’s recreation centre

Parts of the Art and Margaret Fry Recreation Centre are closed until at least mid September

Dawson City’s recreation centre has been partially shut down until at least mid-September over concerns about melting permafrost under the building.

An engineer hired by the town to look at the structure of the Art and Margaret Fry Recreation Centre recommended that the hockey and curling rinks, along with the curling lounge and the second floor of the administrative building, be closed.

“Considering the uncertainty of the structural performance under the deteriorating soil conditions and in the interest of occupant safety, we recommend partial closure of the facility until further structural analysis can be performed to ascertain otherwise,” reads a memo from professional engineer Kitty Leung dated Aug. 1.

A geotechnical survey is scheduled for September, said Trina Buhler, project manager with the city. The closures will remain in place until at least Sept. 19, when city council is slated to receive a final report on the situation.

“It’s a precaution that the city is taking,” she said. “Obviously we’re hoping for the best and when we get the results we’ll definitely look at solutions.”

The recreation centre is built on permafrost. Until more investigation is done, “one would need to assume thawing might have progressed all the way down or even below the bottom of the existing pad foundations anywhere in the existing facility,” the engineer’s memo says.

The centre’s design means too much thawing of permafrost could lead to problems for the building’s supports in the event of high winds or an earthquake.

The administration block has a different type of framing than the rest of the facility. The main floor of the administration building can remain open, the memo says.

Buhler said no events in Dawson have had to be cancelled because of the partial closure.

The upcoming Klondike Placer Miners’ Association barbecue will take place in tents outside.

A pancake breakfast on Discovery Day weekend is also being relocated, she said.

In 2009 the former Yukon Party government earmarked $4 million for repairs and improvements to the recreation centre. That was supposed to be spent over five years, but the deal has repeatedly been extended.

According to the Department of Community Services, as of March 31, 2017, there was $189,000 of the $4 million remaining in the funding agreement. The agreement has now been extended to Dec. 31, 2017.

In 2011, just before that year’s election, the Yukon Party held a sod turning for a new recreation centre for Dawson. The plan never officially made it into the party’s election platform.

While in opposition, Premier Sandy Silver criticized the Yukon Party for not following through with that promise after it lost the Klondike riding.

Community Services Minister John Streicker said it’s too soon for the government to say whether it would be willing to build Dawson a new centre.

“There is still potential for life in the current building but it depends on how much repair is required, so that’s what we need to assess. I don’t know what a new building would cost but it’s a lot more than $4 million.”

Streicker said a new recreation centre could qualify for recently announced federal money if that’s what the government and the community decide to do.

According to an engineering report completed in February 2014, the cost of a new curling rink along with renovations to the hockey arena and administration building is estimated to be $12.5 million.

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

WSP Memo Partial Closure AMFRC by Yukon News on Scribd

Dawson Cityinfrastructurerecreation

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

Just Posted

During our recent conversation, John Nicholson showed me snapshots of his time working on the Yukon riverboats 70 years ago. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: Yukon man relives the riverboat days after seven decades

John Nicholson took summer work on Yukon steamers in the 1950s

Whitehorse City Hall at its Steele Street entrance. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Change of plans approved for city hall

Project would see 1966 city hall demolished

A city map shows the property at 107 Range Road. The zoning is now in place for developers to proceed with plans for a Dairy Queen drive-thru. If plans proceed on schedule the new restaurant is anticipated to open in October. (Cyrstal Schick/Yukon News)
October opening eyed for Dairy Queen

Will depend on everything going according to plan

NDP candidate Annie Blake, left, and Liberal incumbent Pauline Frost. (Submitted photos)
Official recount confirms tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin riding

Both candidates Pauline Frost and Annie Blake are still standing with 78 votes each

Artist’s rendering of a Dairy Queen drive-thru. At its April 13 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved a zoning change to allow a drive-thru at 107 Range Road. Developers sought the change to build a Dairy Queen there. (Submitted)
Drive-thru approved by Whitehorse city council at 107 Range Road

Rezoning could pave the way for a Dairy Queen

Joel Krahn/joelkran.com Hikers traverse the Chilkoot Trail in September 2015. Alaska side.
The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer

The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer Parks… Continue reading

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: Hands of Hope, the quilt of poppies

Toilets are important Ed. note: Hands of Hope is a Whitehorse-based non-profit… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at city council matters for the week of April 12

École Whitehorse Elementary Grade 7 students Yumi Traynor and Oscar Wolosewich participated in the Civix Student Vote in Whitehorse on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Yukon Student Vote chooses Yukon Party government; NDP take popular vote

The initiative is organized by national non-profit CIVIX

Yvonne Clarke is the newly elected Yukon Party MLA for Porter Creek Centre. (Submitted/Yukon Party)
Yvonne Clarke elected as first Filipina MLA in the Yukon Legislative Assembly

Clarke beat incumbent Liberal Paolo Gallina in Porter Creek Centre

Emily Tredger at NDP election night headquarters after winning the Whitehorse Centre riding. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Emily Tredger takes Whitehorse Centre for NDP

MLA-elect ready to get to work in new role

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Two new cases of COVID-19 variant identified in territory

“If variants were to get out of control in the Yukon, the impact could be serious.”

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

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

Most Read