Homes away from home
Housing Corporation looks to develop foreign market

by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Feb 25/98) - The GNWT is interested in helping Northerners in other parts of the circumpolar world get homes -- government-designed, NWT-supplied homes.

"We have a lot of expertise we think we can sell," said NWT Housing Corporation president Dave Murray.

Murray noted that expertise has already been proven to some extent, on the North Shore of Alaska. There, the Northern Transportation Company Limited has proven it can deliver from the Great Slave Lake area for about 80 per cent of the cost of delivery from Seattle.

The government is hoping windows, doors, kitchen and bathroom cabinets produced in Hay River and oil, water and sewer tanks produced in Yellowknife will be a hit in the republic of Sakha, just across the Bering Strait from Alaska.

Murray pointed out that housing is a booming business in Russia. The government there is committed to build 500,000 stick-built single-family homes by 2000.

In an attempt to secure a share of that market for NWT builders, a delegation will be leaving for Russia later this week. "The purpose of the trip is to build on our potential to sell housing designs and housing products to foreign markets," explained Murray.

"With one phone call, in essence, you can get a whole house delivered to your door, no matter where you live in the North," explained corporation business development manager Ross Bowring.

Deputy premier Goo Arlooktoo, who is responsible for the corporation, will be leading the trip. The delegation will also include Murray, Inuvik MLA Floyd Roland a corporation business development adviser, an engineer and a representative of the Northern Transportation Company.

The group leaves Friday and returns March 13.

Murray said developing foreign housing markets provides jobs for Northern builders and revenue for the housing corporation that can be used to build more public housing in the NWT.