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Northland group still looking for funds

Peter Crnogorac
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 15/06) - The Northland Trailer Park's condominium group is again requesting funds from the city budget, this time for a feasibility study on all its infrastructure needs, including replacement of roads and the underground pipe system.

"The water and sewage pipes are past its 25 year expiry date," said Wade Friesen a board member of the park's governing board, Yellowknife Condominium Corp. No. 8.

"We need to do a feasibility study to find out what exactly needs to be done."

Friesen made a presentation to city council at a special budget council meeting on Dec. 4.

He asked for as much money as council was able to give the condo corporation, saying the feasibility study could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The bare minimum he said the condo corporation would take is $20,000 to $50,000, adding that his group has $20,000 to put toward the plan.

Friesen said the corporation wants to apply for a Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Green Municipal Fund.

"This fund requires that up to one-half of the eventual cost of the project be contributed by the lead applicant and its partner (in this case, the city)," Friesen told council.

The trailer park was built in the 1970s and was privately owned. At that time, the developer agreed that the City of Yellowknife would not be responsible for the infrastructure.

The site was sold in the 1980s and was converted into a condominium in 1990. When this occurred, no plan was made for the infrastructure rehaul.

"The condominium board was not able to set aside a reserve fund sufficient to replace the infrastructure," said Diane Hrstic, a condominium board member, in an interview with Yellowknifer.

A person living in Northland pays a monthly condo fee of $120.

The estimated cost of replacing all the water and sewage pipes could be as high as $15 million. Friesen said that the pipes are disintegrating in the ground.

"The water pipes, as well as the corrugated metal pipe sanitary sewer servicing Northland, have eroded over the years," he said.

"This erosion is believed to be the major contributor to the very significant water loss problem that is also crippling Northland's ability to enact a solution."

Friesen estimates that in the past four years the water wastage has cost the condo corporation almost $250,000.

There are 259 homes in Northland.

Owners pay property taxes but don't receive direct services from the city because the trailer park is considered private property.

In 2004, Mayor Gord Van Tighem blamed Northland troubles on a lack of foresight in anticipating future infrastructure costs.

On Monday, the mayor's position didn't change.

Van Tighem said the city would help the corporation, but, legally, when it comes to finding money to replace the water and sewage pipes it would be the responsibility of the people living in Northland.

If the price tag is $15 million for the replacement, then each of the 259 home-owners would have to chip in close to $59,000 each.

CouncillorBob Brooks, who served two terms in the 1990s before returning in 2003, said he's tired of the dragging issue.

"It's time we solved the Northland problem," he said. "It has been an issue for too long."

He suggested the first step should be for the city to partner with the condo corporation and apply for a Green Fund from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

After that, he said that the city should monitor what the corporation is planning and try to lend its support.