New apartment unit 'a start' to easing Dawson City's housing crunch

Work is set to begin on a new eight-unit apartment building in Dawson City's downtown area. The federal and territorial government are helping pay for the building that's an 'obvious need', according to the Klondike Development Organization.

Work to start soon on 8-unit apartment building, 'an obvious need' in Dawson

A sketch of the new apartment building. It will include six one-bedroom units, and two two-bedroom units. (KDO)

Dawson City should see a bit of relief from its ongoing housing crunch by next summer, when a new 8-unit affordable housing block is expected to be open and ready for tenants.

"It's not going to be the total solution, but it's going to be a start," said Brian Stethem of the Klondike Development Organization (KDO), a non-profit partnership of local groups, including the local municipal council and chamber of commerce.

The KDO has received $900,000 in federal and territorial funding to help pay for the construction. A ground-breaking ceremony is planned for Monday, with construction beginning "right after that," Stethem said.

"It's an obvious need here in Dawson," he said. "There's been a housing shortage here for some time and our population has increased substantially."

Stethem said more young families are moving to town, and it's getting harder for any new arrivals to find a place to live. Sometimes, he said, people end up couch-surfing. Others live in tents or vans

Economic stimulus

The new building will include six one-bedroom units and two two-bedroom units "of modest size," according to KDO. Prospective tenants must have incomes below Yukon social housing program limits.

The building will be on King Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. The Triple J Hotel currently has cabins on the site. (Google)

The territorial government has said the new building should serve as an economic stimulus, providing jobs during construction. Stethem says the new housing could also spur other economic growth.

"We've had people who will not come and start businesses here, because there's no housing for their staff. So it's a real conundrum."

The new building will be on King St., between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, where the Triple J Hotel now has some cabins. The land was purchased at market value, and Stethem says the cabins will be moved to make way for the new building.

"It's almost surreal it's taken so long to get here, and now it's happening. We're all pretty excited," he said.

With files from Mike Rudyk


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