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Sales of abandoned properties in Faro better than expected, says councillor

The Town of Faro, Yukon, has sold 11 of the community's 37 abandoned properties — buildings that have sat vacant since the nearby Faro mine closed two decades ago.

Town sells 11 out of 37 properties abandoned since the nearby mine closed

Abandoned housing in Faro range from single family homes to row houses, duplexes and triplexes. (Ian Dunlop/Town of Faro)

The Town of Faro, Yukon, has sold 11 of the community's 37 abandoned properties — buildings that have sat vacant since the nearby Faro mine closed two decades ago.

The empty buildings include single family homes, row houses, and multi-unit complexes, totalling about 170 housing units.

"It's a beautiful town, great people here," said town councillor Pat McCracken, who noted the sale of abandoned houses is going better than expected. 

"We're hoping that there's more people interested in living in a place that is as nice as Faro." 

McCracken has been in the community since the boom days of the 1970s. 

"I came up here for a year or two but when I seen the country and met the people, within a month I knew I was never leaving."  

However, many people did leave after the mine closed in 1997. There are now fewer than 400 people in the community and the town is trying to deal with the vacant buildings.

"The last thing we want to do is see the houses deteriorate to the point where they have to be torn down," said McCracken. 

'Great values to be had'

"Everybody's just very ecstatic about seeing this process moving forward here in Faro and we're looking forward to seeing some new people moving in," said Ian Dunlop, the town's chief administrative officer.  

"We sold a six-plex through the bidding process and the winning bid on that was about $10,000, so there's some great values to be had." 

Dunlop notes there is a requirement that the properties need to be renovated or demolished within three years of purchase, and for those who do renovate, there are money-back incentives. 

As for who is buying the buildings, according to Dunlop, there are a variety of people: some local, some from Whitehorse and others from outside the territory. 

"Most of the houses that have been sold through this process are going to be fixed up, and therefore they will be used as people's homes and there are probably a couple that are going to be used as seasonal residences."

Dunlop notes there is a lot of work to be done on the homes, which have sat empty for years. 

"They need typical things like new windows, roofs, the furnaces of course haven't been used in a couple of years and will have to be replaced, so there's some bigger ticket items that will be required to bring the properties back to life," he said.

"But structurally they're all in great shape, so we're looking forward to seeing the results."

For the buildings that don't sell, Dunlop says town council will make a decision about demolition next year. 

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