Behchoko council probes centre renovation delays
The current chief in Behchoko, N.W.T., says he's doing what he can to figure out what went wrong with a $6-million renovation of the local sports complex, which remains closed and incomplete.
Chief Clifford Daniels said his council has formed a committee that is trying to resolve issues related to the renovation delays. He could not say when work will resume.
"We're just dealing with it right now," Daniels told CBC News. "I wish I could get this going faster, because recreational facilities are really required in this community."
The renovated sports and recreation complex in Behchoko, located about 100 kilometres northwest of Yellowknife, is meant to engage local youth in various activities, in the hopes of keeping them out of trouble.
Group wanted youth centre
Two years ago, a youth movement spearheaded by Marvin Apples criticized the community government for putting all of its resources into renovating the sports complex.
Apples and his group had wanted funding for a new youth centre, where children and youth could play Dene hand games and programs could be offered.
But Leon Lafferty, who was chief at the time, said he did not appreciate the criticism levelled by Apples's group.
"I don't like whiners and complainers. Like I told them when they came to my meeting there, 'Why do you want the youth centre?' Just to hang out. There's other things that they should be doing, and we're doing that," Lafferty said in an interview.
"We're putting a facility in place where they can have sports, they can have a computer, they can do anything in there."
Longer delay predicted
Currently, Apples is working for the Behchoko community government, running a small youth centre, as the sports complex sits boarded up and incomplete.
"All of us in the group, we said that it's not going to be open. It's still not open, it's still under renovation," he said.
"Probably might not be open for another year or two, that's what I'm predicting."
Youth programs are currently being run out of Behchoko's friendship centre daily. As well, the local hall is open for children to play hand games three times a week.
Daniels said a public meeting will be held to answer questions about the stalled sports complex renovations, as soon as council has some answers.