Whitehorse Daily Star

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WORK CONTINUES – The Wann Road property being renovated into a group home was purchased last May for $1.1 million.

Group home reno costs to mirror purchase price

The Yukon government is budgeting to pay the same price to renovate a one-time bed and breakfast into a group home for youth as it spent on purchasing the building itself last year.

By Palak Mangat on March 18, 2019

The Yukon government is budgeting to pay the same price to renovate a one-time bed and breakfast into a group home for youth as it spent on purchasing the building itself last year.

The renovations, which began last month at the 22 Wann Rd. site, are expected to wrap up to allow YG to welcome youth into the home by the summer.

Renovations include a new fire alarm, sprinkler and back-up power systems, barrier-free accessibility features, and other safety upgrades like fire separations between floors.

That was confirmed by Oshea Jephson, a Department of Highways and Public Works (HPW) spokesperson, who also noted last week that “occupancy can take place in May.”

But while that may be when it’s possible, it’s unclear at this stage when it will actually happen.

Noting that renovations were “initially delayed,” Clarissa Wall, a Department of Health and Social Services (HSS) spokesperson, confirmed last week there is no hard deadline set beyond the summer.

“Timing will depend on the completion of the renovations and the transition plan for youth moving into Wann Road,” she wrote.

The transition will be based on when it’s best for the youth to begin moving in, the details of which are still being determined.

It’s expected that the site will lead to the closures of two other downtown group homes that do not meet standards and are no longer effective.

HSS Minister Pauline Frost assured last year that the two group homes will not close until the new site opens its doors, so as not to create a gap in services.

The Porter Creek property was purchased last May for $1.1 million by YG, which hopes it will help in particular those who are transitioning out of government care into early adulthood (meaning they are 19-plus).

The 10-bed home has rooms with ensuite bathrooms and small apartments.

The initial plan to construct two buildings to replace the two older downtown Whitehorse homes was scrapped in favour of the time and cost-saving alternative by HSS.

“Costs for renovations will be higher than originally quoted, but are still expected to be significantly less expensive than a new build,” Wall added, noting the planned budget for renovations sat at $1.1 million.

According to the five-year capital plan tabled March 7 along with the 2019-20 budget, YG is projecting to spend between $1 million and $5 million for the upcoming year and the year after (2020-21).

The government’s online tender management system, due for a replacement, shows that Whitehorse-based PCR Construction Ltd. was awarded the work for $989,770.

The two other local companies that submitted bids are Southpaw Construction for just over $1.4 million, and Thomas Contracting Yukon Inc. for $954,000.

Comments (25)

Up 0 Down 0

BB who are you on Mar 22, 2019 at 3:42 pm

Thanks for letting us know.

Up 16 Down 2

Groucho d'North on Mar 22, 2019 at 8:19 am

WTF do they need a backup generator for? Will the little darlings revolt if there is interruption in their video game playing? Just because a government project has a budget assigned to it does not mean it's a contest to spend all the money. More Liberal largess on display.

Up 8 Down 1

Junipest on Mar 22, 2019 at 3:22 am

The Pidwa report will come out at the same time as the Mueller report. If this Wann group home is not needed and Kaushees place needs some rooms then have Kaushees take over Wann residence. A simple Liberal solution. It's not that difficult folks.

Up 4 Down 12

BB on Mar 21, 2019 at 5:46 pm

It looks like the same person keeps posting like a broken record under different names. Complaining about dishonesty and cover-ups no less. How about at least being honest enough to stick with one fake name when commenting on this article?

Up 14 Down 1

Disillusioned on Mar 21, 2019 at 5:08 pm

It is March break and the people who should be reading all of these comments and answering the questions and taking stock of what has happened here - they are all on vacay down south enjoying their manager's salary and when they return they can pat the renovators on the back - good job. Your tax dollars hard at work. I have lost all faith that any accountability or justice is present in this government and YG.

Up 22 Down 4

Time for the truth on Mar 21, 2019 at 3:02 pm

It is time for PIDWA - enough of the cover up 2 million dollars to hide wrong doers. This is shameful time for jusice and truth!

Up 29 Down 6

Really ? People are surprised? on Mar 20, 2019 at 6:53 pm

This is the same Minister, DM, Director and Manager that said on many occasions that the youth were lying and it never happened. So it can not be a surprise that the Wann road group home is now double the price and has been completely mismanaged. They better make sure there are no locks on the doors we don't want staff and the manager to accidentally lock a youth out at -25 - or are we back to the Director's mantra" that never happened or that is not the information I have". I will be surprised if that home is open by May I mean how can one manager who has no staff be expected to get this done in a year? Like I said really ?

Up 28 Down 2

North_of_60 on Mar 20, 2019 at 6:30 pm

This is more Millions spent on crony capitalism; that's what LIBs do best. There are so many better things that can be done with the building as-is without expensive renovations.
"Use What We Have" is correct, spend the money to add more rooms to the JuvieJail and make it the group home.

Up 24 Down 3

Dazed and Confused on Mar 20, 2019 at 5:16 pm

Is the manager who locked out the youth and then said it never happened the same manager who is looking after this Wann road project? I am confused.
Does the Director of FCS "direct" the group home and the Transition house?
If the answer is yes - who are these people ? How are they still employed to care for vulnerable women and children?

Can someone clear up the confusion as I think I must have it wrong but after reading all the comments I am not so sure.

Up 25 Down 2

Where is PIDWA on Mar 20, 2019 at 4:47 pm

Where is the PIDWA report? It has been a year. Did it get released and the Government burned it? I gave evidence and I want it known what these people are like and what they have covered up and got rewarded for. No one really knows the extent of the wrong doing. It is time for it to come out, all of it, not the watered down Pam Constanzo version they gave people. The whole ugly truth needs to be told. Wann road is a mess just like everything else this manager "manages". PIDWA it is time for the real truth!

Up 26 Down 3

demoralized in the Yukon on Mar 20, 2019 at 4:37 pm

ISYY closed because it would be a constant reminder of Plumbing Gate, of people with integrity who stood up for youth, of the wrong doing that was reported but disbelieved then ackowledged but not rectified or repaired.

Wann road is now our symbol and reminder of no integrity, harm to vulnerable children, a brazen cover up, a hiding place for managers who should have been held to account, who should have answered questions about what happened under their leadership. Wann road is the legacy of the demise of FCS under the Director.

Up 36 Down 2

Use what we have on Mar 20, 2019 at 12:22 pm

Remember the old young offenders building. Nothing happening there anymore. Why not Reno what is already setup as an institution, sprinklers, large kitchen etc. Take the locks off the doors (if freedom is what you want), spruce up the bedrooms and voila. Start using what you have YTG. Group homes don’t need separate mini suites with individual on-suites.

Up 36 Down 2

Lost In the Yukon on Mar 19, 2019 at 7:36 pm

Another project well managed and brought to you by the Minister of Heath and Social Services, the Deputy Minister and the most excellent Director of Family and Children's Services. It is rumored they have decreed that the building will have no locks so as to avoid any confusion as to whether kids are allowed to come in when it's cold. What a dynamic trio of competence and transparency.

Up 34 Down 3

Cover up on Mar 19, 2019 at 6:26 pm

The Wann road purchase was a distraction, smoke and mirrors pure and simple. It was meant to divert attention away from the group home scandal that found youth were in fact neglected while in care. The purchase was so those responsible could be quietly and quickly moved from public scrutiny. The proof is that group home which had to be urgently purchased has sat unrenovated and unoccupied for a year. There is a full time manager "managing" this and no one else and it is no where near ready? It is now going to cost over 2 million dollars in addition to the managers salary. Not sure exactly what this manager has been doing for the last year except dodging the real questions. I guess this is the cost of cover up. I hope the compensation of those who were wronged is as high as 2 million at least there will be integrity attached to that money.

Up 27 Down 1

Max Justice on Mar 19, 2019 at 5:44 pm

The moral of this story;
You commit wrong doing everyone knows it, people report it, people get fired and disciplined for reporting it. The DM admits it happened and says sorry. What happens to those who committed the wrong-doing ? They get to buy a multi million dollar group home that is not needed. To "create" an opportunity so questions do not get answered, so responsibility is not taken for what happened to those who needed support and protection.
A year later the multi-million dollar home sits vacant and only now after almost a year the "renovations" have started. No, this was not part of a cover up and "witness relocation" program just because NOTHING has happened to further this project in a year and it will only benefit 10 youth. Nope no cover up - Kaushee's take a good look at who is on top at FCS and who gets the money.

Up 33 Down 3

Benjamin on Mar 19, 2019 at 4:53 pm

First there was wrong doing, then there was "let's buy a million dollar group home to cover it up". Now we are spending another million dollars to renovate an already million dollar home. Cover up is VERY, VERY expensive.

Up 33 Down 0

ivy on Mar 19, 2019 at 3:23 pm

What have they been doing for a year if the renovations just started last month? Waiting for the group home scandal to blow over and needed a place to "lay low". PIDWA where are you ??

Up 36 Down 1

cameron on Mar 19, 2019 at 3:20 pm

Kaushee's Place - needs 1.9 million dollars, employs 28 staff and assists women and children fleeing domestic violence.

Wann Road - started at 1.1 million dollars, now will cost another million dollars to "renovate" it and will house 10 youth and one manager fleeing wrong doing. Yes this sounds right, shhhhhhh no one will notice the ridiculousness. FYI same Director decides who gets what and what is important and what gets covered up.

Up 28 Down 5

Bandit on Mar 19, 2019 at 8:36 am

Unless it's a typo, It looks like Thomas Contracting Yukon Inc. should have been awarded the contract. I mean, the city awarded a contract to a Southern bidder for $250 less, and if my math is correct Thomas Contracting Yukon Inc. was $35,770 lower than PCR Construction Ltd. ??

Up 37 Down 1

My Opinion on Mar 18, 2019 at 11:20 pm

That place was a mansion. I was in it. Marble everywhere everything top end. Huge ensuite in every room. They are going to spend a million to Reno that???

Up 5 Down 23

Wes on Mar 18, 2019 at 8:49 pm

Yukoner79, in what alternate reality could you build 2, 5 bedroom group homes for under 2 million? We’re going off your proposal remember. Demolish 2 existing group homes and build 2 new ones.
These are group homes so completely different standard than a single family dwelling.
And what would you have done with the residents while work was underway?
You said it, so explain your simple plan?

Up 33 Down 2

Guncache on Mar 18, 2019 at 7:08 pm

Typical liberal gov't spending. They love to blow taxpayers money.

Up 40 Down 1

Brenda on Mar 18, 2019 at 6:08 pm

I am shocked and amazed !! It will cost more - it is amazing how they have found another million dollars for this renovation but can not fund Kaushee's Place the 1.9 million they needed. 28 jobs at Kaushee's place and houses how many women and children a year? Wann road - now over 2 million dollars, will house 10 youth, one manager who manages no one making well over 100,000 dollars. Absolutely outrageous!

Up 38 Down 3

drum on Mar 18, 2019 at 5:51 pm

Should have built something to their needs - this is ridiculous - taxpayers money wasted.

Up 63 Down 9

Yukoner79 on Mar 18, 2019 at 3:22 pm

Ridiculous. Gov could have demolished the old group homes and build new, for more kids, for that price. SMH.
Here you go, 10 kids...have your own "living suites". No sense in sharing bathrooms that would be ridiculous. At least they will age-out in style.

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