Dawson City faces big summer housing crunch

An anticipated influx of summer workers coming to Dawson City, Yukon, has the town scrambling to find enough temporary housing for everyone.

An expected influx of summer workers coming to Dawson City, Yukon, from mining and construction workers to tourism staff and even an American TV crew, has the town scrambling to find enough temporary housing for everyone.

Mining exploration companies will be busy in Yukon's Klondike region this summer, while several big construction projects will be underway at the same time.

Both activities will add to the usually busy tourism season in Dawson City, which attracts tourists as well as seasonal service industry employees.

"I've got people that are wanting to stay for the summer in their trailer because there is no place to stay," Gail Hendley, owner of the Bonanza Gold Motel and RV Park, told CBC News.

Hendley said she already has a couple of work crews staying at her place, and she is turning away other requests for long-term accommodations.

TV crew rents entire hotel

Ashley Doiron of White House Cabins said she has also been approached by people seeking accommodations for the whole summer, but she cannot do that.

Doiron said she might be able to house some seasonal workers for a few weeks in May, but they would have to find other accomodation after that.

Complicating this summer's housing crunch is news that a crew from the Discovery Channel TV series Gold Rush Alaska is moving to Dawson City this summer and renting most of the rooms at the Triple J Hotel for five months.

"Discovery Channel, one of their reality shows — Gold Rush Alaska — they've decided to move over here to the Klondike region and do their gold mining," Brad Whitelaw, who operates the Triple J, said Thursday.

"They needed the housing for their film crew, so they've rented for five months. So we're really excited about that."

Council considers amendment

Meanwhile, Dawson City councillors are considering zoning amendments that would allow temporary housing to be built in the Klondike River Valley.

Woods Exploration has asked the town for permission to build two large shelters to house its workers. A public hearing on the company's request has been scheduled for April 19.

"It's not a tent city; far from it. It will have to conform to all of the health requirements, so [it's] quite a capital investment," Mayor Peter Jenkins said.

Micah Olesh, a development officer for the municipality, said the uncertainty over housing availability for summer workers could mean some people may not be able to find a place to live.

"We're just a little worried that not all of the potential workers will be able to find shelter in Dawson this summer," he said.