Whitehorse Daily Star

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BUILDING ORDERED CLOSED – The Whitehorse Fire Department was summoned to the Chilkoot Trail Inn to quell a blaze in October 2021. The department has ordered the building’s closure for safety reasons and required renovations.

Inn’s residents told to leave by month’s end

With the pending closure of the Chilkoot Trail Inn, the Department of Health and Social Services is looking to find accommodations for their many clients on social assistance who regularly stay at the Fourth Avenue location.

By Chuck Tobin on January 21, 2022

With the pending closure of the Chilkoot Trail Inn, the Department of Health and Social Services is looking to find accommodations for their many clients on social assistance who regularly stay at the Fourth Avenue location.

Re/Max realtor Marc Perreault said today the inn has informed the clients it will close at the end of this month as the owners prepare for repairs and renovations ordered by the City of Whitehorse fire chief.

There are 28 registered clients at the inn, but the closure is expected to affect approximately 50 people who regularly rely on the location for accommodations.

The fire department issued the closure order last week, following a fire at the inn in mid-October 2021.

Perreault said the initial order was to make repairs to the area damaged by fire. Following an inspection of the building, the order was expanded to include repairs to the entire building, said Perreault, who is speaking for the owners.

“The work cannot be done with the tenants in place,” Perreault told the Star.

Perreault said it’s expected the repairs will take between four and six months.

Health and Social Services is helping to find alternate accommodations, he said. No details of those measures were available from the department before press time this afternoon.

The building’s owners, said Perreault, plan on providing the same service to the same clients once the work has been completed.

“The owners have chosen to provide this service for many years, and it is really outstanding for them to continue to do that.”

Perreault said the owners are devastated because they are friends with their clients, having run the inn for 20 years or longer.

They understand the service they provide, he said.

Perreault also paid tribute to the NGOs like the Safe At Home Society and the Blood Ties Four Directions Centre for the work they do helping people in need of housing.

“They are an amazing group of people,” he said.

He said the Chilkoot Inn does provide an essential service.

“We do have a shortage of housing for clients that have difficulty finding affordable housing, so we can’t afford to lose any of that stock.”

Kate Mechan of the Safe at Home Society said this morning its representatives will do whatever they can to assist those who might not have anywhere else to live at the end of the month.

The Chilkoot Inn clients were told Monday they have to be out by the end of the month, she told the Star.

On Tuesday, the society started hearing from those people worried about where they’ll find a place to live in the middle of winter during a chronic housing shortage and soaring rents.

She said the looming Chilkoot closure is adding to the impact on an already-overtaxed support network for the homeless.

These are individuals who already experience homelessness, she said.

Mechan said being homeless and in constant uncertainty is hard work, and it takes its toll on wellness.

These are individuals who are not able to find nor afford housing in the regular rental market.

“We have already had several individuals who were a little bit confused and a little worried,” she said.

Mechan said the issue of housing for those Chilkoot clients is beyond their control now, and their options for housing are very narrow.

“Hopefully, in the coming weeks, we can come up with some solid options and make sure nobody is left out in the cold,” she said.

Comments (24)

Up 17 Down 9

Groucho d'North on Jan 26, 2022 at 9:22 am

There are many detours down this particular rabbit hole, but I will restate my original point: The influx of many new Canadians brought here by the government of the day, overwhelmed the existing housing availability, and by not building new accomodations Canada's real estate market has become stressed and inflated. This limits options for those seeking safe and affordable living spaces.

Up 16 Down 3

drum on Jan 25, 2022 at 4:17 pm

The people who own the Family Hotel - do they own the Chilikoot Hotel as well?
Cozy - guaranteed income for rentals every month from the government. High Country Inn next for welfare recipients?

Up 8 Down 9

EJ on Jan 25, 2022 at 3:02 pm

@Groucho It's very ironic that you accuse me of not seeing the bigger picture when you try and tie the Housing issue primarily to immigration and no I'm not cherry picking here. Almost your entire previous post focused on how immigration relates to housing prices and you went there on a story about people who are borderline homeless losing their space. So my post was very relevant.

I think your biggest problem is that you look at everything through partisan blinders. You said its a 'trend with the Liberals' and then mentioned the dumb conservative quip about Trudeau being a snowboard instructor. I'm guessing you will say he is a drama teacher next right? Which of course to conservatives is a joke. They think outdoor sports and drama should not be taken seriously, otherwise it wouldn't be funny to them. In truth, Trudeau was mainly a French and Math teacher. Funny how that never seems to get mentioned isn't it?

Up 7 Down 1

EJ on Jan 25, 2022 at 2:34 pm

@JimDandee - Actually I'm quite right according to anyone with half a brain. No logical person thinks that anyone was prevented from retiring at any age since we live in a free country (despite what a lot of Karens think lately). So yes, of course I was talking about the age you could start collecting OAS and you just admitted that they did indeed raise the age from 65 to 67 (phased in or not, it still screws a lot of people). Since this is such a great idea, can you explain why the conservative party dropped it from their platform in the last two elections? My theory is that they realized immigration is not a horrible thing, and that it's better to let Canadians keep retiring at 65 rather than forcing them to work longer and longer just so we can shut the door on immigrants.

CPP is essentially forcing people to save for their own retirement. The alternative is to either scrap the CPP altogether and tell people to fend for themselves or raise taxes (real taxes unlike the CPP which some financially illiterate idiots think is a tax) to properly fund it.

Up 5 Down 5

Chuck Farley on Jan 25, 2022 at 12:16 pm

Jim Dandee; news flash sparky, EJ was correct on his observations regarding Harper; Harper disclosed the austerity measures while on an official visit to Europe when he made the announcement re pension reform which ticked off a lot of people; didn't have the balls to tell Canadians prior to his departure.

Up 7 Down 2

Groucho d'North on Jan 25, 2022 at 11:53 am

You have inspired me to dig deeper into the reasons housing has become scarce here in the Yukon. I have found some interesting things in my search, but I doubt Dear Editor would provide the space needed to demonstrate, so I will cherry-pick from what I have found...so far.
The Federal Liberals don't even have the honesty or courage to say they would be sending more immigrants to the Yukon, rather they misrepresented their intentions by promoting new status for us under the Official Languages Act.

The feds had to place these immigrants across the nation and did a modicum of research before they selected candidate communities.
You may recall a visit here in March of 2021 by the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), He was here to announce money for Normandy Manor - a seniors housing project.
But this same man was also the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship at the time and he was scouting to learn how many new Canadians could be sent here. But these matters were not revealed in the media releases made by the Feds about their discussions with our local gang of Liberals. But I am ever hopeful somebody at the table brought up the matter of available housing or jobs here for these people during these high-level meetings.

Read these media releases from Canada:
May 2019: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/2019/05/whitehorse-selected-as-a-welcoming-francophone-community.html

March 2021: https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/media-newsroom/news-releases/2021/affordable-seniors-housing-coming-whitehorse

Finally, as a demonstration of their pandering to Canada's diversified population, it appears decisions on who gets housing are being based on specific factors we have been lectured on as being discriminatory.


So who's being discriminatory?

Up 10 Down 6

Patti Eyre on Jan 25, 2022 at 11:32 am

Always a hardship when anyone loses their place to live, let us work together to find a common solution to these challenging times and not cast stones!

Up 5 Down 2

Groucho d'North on Jan 25, 2022 at 8:51 am

My comments were focused on the lack of housing options for not only these people in need who are being turfed from their present residences, but also for many, many others seeking a warm safe place to live. These bad situations are not by accident, they are the result of poor housing management decisions made by people selected for the job.
You chose to focus on the addictions aspect of the story and I agree with you, it is a sorry on-going problem that needs attention. Governments at all levels are failing their constituents in a number of vital topic areas. What do you expect when a part-time snow board instructor is elected to make the important decisions?
Perhaps try to comprehend the bigger picture of the comments presented here rather than cherry-picking one element as a platform for your disagreement.

Up 9 Down 0

bonanzajoe on Jan 24, 2022 at 8:02 pm

Christine S. Politicians make all kinds of promises during election campaigns. But when they get elected, it doesn't take very long before they realize who really governs - the bureaucrats.

Up 7 Down 3

Jim Dandee on Jan 24, 2022 at 7:56 pm

You are factually incorrect, once again. The Harper government did not "raise the age of retirement to 67". The age one could begin collecting CPP was unchanged at 60 and if you had the resources and/or inclination you could retire any time you wanted. What they proposed was to increase the age that one could begin collecting age old security from 65 to 67. This was to be phased in over a 10 year period, i.e. people age 55 or older at announcement of program would still be able to begin collecting OAS when they turned 65. This was in line what other G-20 countries were doing because people were living on average 8-10 years longer than they were at the inception of the program.

You want to point fingers look at what the Liberals have just done by significantly raising the contributions that employees and employers have to contribute to the CCP. That is is an immediate hardship, starting this year.

Up 14 Down 29

EJ on Jan 23, 2022 at 8:36 pm

@Groucho Using an article about the troubles of people with severe addiction and mental health problems to attack immigrants in general is gross. There is NO comparison between immigrants, the vast majority who put into our system much more than they take out, and people who depend on welfare programs to keep them alive.

Immigrants DO NOT make it harder for these people to find housing. You should stop listening to people like Jonas Smith and Currie Dixon.

And on a side note, please explain how Canada can maintain benefits for its retired population without immigrants. Without immigrants our population would be declining and would it would be next to impossible for most people to retire. Remember that Stephen Harper raised the retirement age to 67 before the Liberals came to power and lowered it back to 65.

Up 28 Down 8

Groucho d'North on Jan 23, 2022 at 2:57 pm

The ebb and flow of the Free-Market Economy is a big influence. So is bringing in refugees or immigrants and not preparring for the impacts on our general economy: 226,203 people immigrating into Canada between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. This figure is a decrease from 2018-2019, when about 313,601 immigrants came to Canada, but is much more than the estimated 199,170 immigrants arriving in 2002-2003. Per stats on line, the Yukon received around 27,700 immigrants between 2015 to present day: https://www.statista.com/statistics/609190/number-of-immigrants-in-yukon/
I can't find a number for how many new housing units were built in that time frame, but it appears the governments hatched a plan all the while ignoring the impacts to our local housing market.
While the government crows about helping these people and how we are a welcoming nation of kind souls, nobody is speaking about the impact all these new people have placed on housing markets across the nation. Did Trudeau and his collection of like-minded experts plan to create new housing due to the large increase in the housing demand side these new Canadians would create or did they expect the magic housing fairies would build the homes we needed at night when we are all sleeping?
Bad planning begets bad results and I am seeing this as a trend with just about anything the Trudeau Liberals do, they don't consider the bigger picture and related outcomes of their decisions and programs, I doubt they could effectively plan a picnic lunch.

Up 30 Down 8

Wilf Carter on Jan 23, 2022 at 10:38 am

To Minister Pallia - how about housing these people in the high country and government cover some of the cost. You were a VP at local development company that owns the High Country in. Most have different types of disabilities and can't function in society properly. There are two big rooms not been used that could have dividers put in for each group, Kitchen to feed people etc.

Up 59 Down 2

Proactive on Jan 23, 2022 at 6:18 am

The spin the media puts on this is biased. The situation in the building is dire strait, skid-row.

Unfortunately, the people living here require assisted living. The eviction orders are a proactive move to prevent the inhabitants from burning to death, a far worse fate than eviction.

If the building burned and inhabitants perished the media would say no one took an action. Here is your action taken -accept it- go find ways to help people.

Up 37 Down 11

drum on Jan 22, 2022 at 8:59 pm

They were mostly on Welfare - the Landlord loved that because it is a guaranteed monthy cheque from the government. (Taxpayers money remember) Now the High Country Inn is a long walk to the Shelter for meals - are the taxpayers going to supply a shuttle service three times a day?

Up 30 Down 8

Unpopular Opinion on Jan 22, 2022 at 8:57 pm

You talk about it being an emergency etc. Well what do you expect to happen to housing prices when you have a hot economy? So many NDP types are demanding that YTG somehow force cool economy housing prices onto a hot economy. Unless you want to go full blown Cuba, you simply can't do that. Look at Fort Mac for a good example. Housing prices were through the roof because of the oil boom. Then when the economy cooled down, housing prices came down. This is a fundamental principle of any free market economy.

All of the construction companies and tradesmen seem to be putting up houses a mile a minute and yet the 'problem' remains. So please tell me what your plan is to create affordable housing here? Also, we live in a country that does not restrict movement of people so if housing prices are too high for you here, MOVE somewhere else. Canada is a huge country and you have many options rather than sitting in Whitehorse and demanding that the government offer you affordable housing on a platter. If housing prices were too high here, people would not be paying the asking price or over......and then housing prices would come down.

And no we are not Vancouver and there is not some dark outside foreign force buying up all of our houses. It's regular people. I know many people who have bought houses in the past few years and they have all different types of jobs from mechanics to govt office workers to nurses.

Up 31 Down 6

Jake on Jan 22, 2022 at 8:38 pm

How is it that a real-estate agent becomes the spokesman for the Yukon Government? On the face of it this is a conflict of some sort, I must be missing something?

Up 31 Down 6

drum on Jan 22, 2022 at 4:50 pm

I believe most people living in the Chilkoot Hotel are on welfare - guaranteed income to the landlord - who owns it? It just seems to make sense that the welfare recipients are going to be able to go to the High Country Inn now. It is going to be available for welfare recipients..

Up 53 Down 6

@Substandard on Jan 22, 2022 at 12:45 pm

While I agree with your post, there is one thing in it that is wrong.
Sure landlords are charging $2000+++ for their rental places, but have you seen the prices lately? Buying an investment property for $500k then renting it out for $2000 is a surefire way to be in foreclosure within a year.
It sucks but you can't expect landlords to subsidize peoples homes, especially when most landlords are regular folks who are renting a basement suite or if they are lucky a whole second home.

Up 51 Down 7

Jane on Jan 22, 2022 at 11:32 am

So the owners say they will fix up the building to meet code and they will let same people back in, that sounds ok. I imagine those tenants do a lot of damage so it must be hard to keep up.

Up 29 Down 24

Substandard on Jan 22, 2022 at 8:20 am

This place is an example of the lack of safe/clean housing choices in this city. Given the lack of housing options, tenants are left to live in this rats nest. The owners should be ashamed taking advantage of those who need a place to stay. “Captive housing” should not be held over those who otherwise cannot afford other options.

Whilst it is universally accepted that there is inadequate rental options in the city, it should also be noted that existing infrastructure is well below standard. Not only are housing options are ridiculously high there is also a lack of said options. There should be a call to arms for city, territorial and other governmental organizations about the existing housing crisis. A special call out should be given to realtors who pad their pockets and create inflated costs and pit tenants against tenants all in the name of profit to get the highest price possible.

When basic needs (food, shelter, clothing) are denied, poor life choices are often follow (substance abuse, violence, suicidal ideation). Added to the mix is family dynamics/history. If there is a history of abuse it is often repeated especially substance abuse.
It should also be noted that landlords, especially home owners are charging $2000+ per month for rent. Their unwillingness to charge less illustrates a gluttonous attitude to make profit off the backs of those in need. The mentality and greed in this territory regarding housing is appalling. Again with few choices, prices are inflated creating a two tier housing system.

I wonder why a new city hall is needed versus housing options for those in need. I wonder how many affordable living options could be created?
Any housing solutions need to address short and long long term options. There is an obligation of any just society to provide support to those that are vulnerable. If someone cannot find suitable/safe housing and does not have food to eat what hope is there?
When looking at causation especially here in The Yukon, we have to take several steps back before we can move forward. Finger pointing isn’t a worthwhile exercise. We all share the burden……..

Up 30 Down 33

Max Mack on Jan 22, 2022 at 3:11 am

So, in the midst of a rental crisis, government agents have decided to shut down one of the remaining facilities that offers reasonable rental rates to SA clients?

I guess the plan must be to shovel millions into the pockets of select developers so these unfortunates have somewhere to live.
And why is Perreault acting as government mouthpiece?

Up 37 Down 20

Christine S on Jan 21, 2022 at 5:18 pm

Well Mayor Cabbott promised to make housing a priority…. Anyone remember when she said in one of the debates that they could look at moving the homeless? Promise made, promise kept. Phase one the City kicks out the homeless, phase two private developers buy the land, phase three build condos.

Up 71 Down 21

bonanzajoe on Jan 21, 2022 at 4:25 pm

Why can't some "poor" homeless people look after their accommodations when they get them? Is it because it's free and they don't feel a sense of responsibility? Many of them need to learn to appreciate what's given to them.

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