Benches removed from Yellowknife post office corner

The City of Yellowknife has removed benches from in front of the post office after complaints from the building's owner, employees and customers about harassment.
The City of Yellowknife has removed benches from in front of the post office after complaints from an employee and customers about harassment. (CBC)

The City of Yellowknife has removed benches from in front of the post office after complaints from an employee and customers about harassment.

The benches were just a few steps from Yellowknife's main intersection and a gathering spot for people from all walks of life, including many of the city's homeless.

Dennis Kefalas, the city's senior administrative officer, says workers from the City of Yellowknife removed the benches at the request of the building's owner.

Kefalas said there were "complaints from the property owner, and patrons, people who use the facility and work there regarding not feeling safe because since the day shelter shut down there's a lot of people who use the day shelter who are gathering in front of the post office and verbally accosting the people who use the facility and work in the facility."​

Denendeh Investments owns the property. Kefalas says they asked for both the benches and planters to be removed. He says the company plans to look for a device to discourage people from sitting on the planters.

Kefalas says there are benches throughout the downtown and in parks and people will have a place to sit, but it will likely be smaller groups in different areas.

Former city councillor Lydia Bardak says the last time the city debated removing the benches, she argued there was no point because people would still find a place to sit. 

"If we want this to be a liveable city, we want people to be able to gather, to visit, to socialize, to get some fresh air," she said.

Louise Beaulieu of Dettah, who says she often took a seat on the benches, says she'll still sit there, benches or not.

“If they take this thing out, I’m going to bring my cushion and sit down here. I’m not going to give up.”

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.