City's new master plan released
The first phase of the plan would see a concrete divider split Franklin Avenue between 50th and 53rd streets, capped at each end with gargoyle-type safety buffers in the shape of giant ravens
by Glen Korstrom
NNSL (Apr 01/98) - Mayor Dave Lovell and city councillors are pondering a multi-million-dollar master plan to radically transform the city, according to documents leaked to Yellowknifer by a senior city staff source.
According to the plan, the first phase of the project would see a concrete divider split Franklin Avenue between 50th and 53rd streets, capped at each end with gargoyle-type safety buffers in the shape of giant ravens.
The dividers, painted bright yellow for greater visibility, could cost taxpayers $20,000 each.
The most expensive part of the contentious plan, which was hatched during secret meetings of the previous city council, involves a $21.5-million Frame Lake underpass with separate lanes for pedestrians, cyclists, four-by-wheels and snowmachines.
The tunnel will permit easy MLA access to both Wal-Mart and the hospital as it will link up the legislature parking lot with Old Airport Road at the site of the existing pedestrian underpass.
The tunnel, tentatively named "Lagore Expressway" after the former city administrator reportedly responsible for much of the plan, would have made more sense if council were firmly behind the new twin-pad arena on a site currently housing an old warehouse.
But, with almost inexplicable haste, council is set to abandon that site in favor of a $8.9 million twin-pad arena on land off School Draw, across from where Bartam Trailer Court used to be.
The yet-to-be released documents recommend the site because the city and GNWT already own several acres on the land, there are existing water and sewage services and the site has future expansion space to become a new town centre, complete with sea-doo docks for the summer tourist traffic and a licensed, heated, zinc-and-glass observatorium for winter viewing of the Northern Lights.
To promote the city's up-and-coming diamond industry, council plans to donate the vacant lot at the corner of Franklin and 50th Avenue -- once home to the Miner's Mess -- to any diamond company who agrees to start a facility to polish rough diamonds.
One condition of taking the site is that any structure built must be transparent to allow Yellowknifers to watch fellow citizens at work and minimize security concerns.
The ambitious plan could virtually eliminate local unemployment for the next five years. City staff estimate the project could be completed by April 1, 2003.