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Aklavik builds up homes

Philippe Morin
Northern News Services
Published Monday, August 20, 2007

AKLAVIK - Construction is booming in Aklavik these days.

Gwich'in Chief Charlie Furlong said 16 new homes are being built, which will help the community's housing crunch.

In addition, the band office will be getting an extension with a larger meeting area and a new kitchen.

The community will also construct a new gazebo for outdoor meetings, a bridge leading from Aklavik over a creek to the mountains, and housing for a resident Anglican minister.

Plans are also underway for the Knute Land Cultural Centre, which Furlong views as a place of traditional and cultural learning.

In addition, the hamlet recently built new sidewalks to replace those damaged by the floods of May 2006.

The news is good for contractors and labourers in the community.

Furlong said the construction would boost the local economy, at least for a while.

He said the funding for the construction came primarily from the GNWT thanks to lobbying from the hamlet and band offices.

Furlong said some of the housing units would be subsidized housing, while others would be available for regular rent.

"They are typical duplexes, of the three-bedroom variety," he said.

Hamlet foreman Dean Arey said there are many opportunities for workers in Aklavik.

He said the hamlet had hired six part-time workers and four summer students to rebuild its roads in July, and also to install new sidewalks across the main street.

Local companies such as K&D Contracting were benefiting from the construction.

"There's a lot of work in the community," Arey said.

But, while construction is happening now, Furlong said the community will need other sources of business in future.