Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

BUILDING HAS NO FUTURE – Macaulay Lodge, a fixture in Riverdale for more than half a century, cannot be rehabilitated for another use, the Yukon government has concluded.

Macaulay Lodge cannot be repurposed: minister

Macaulay Lodge in Riverdale has been deemed unsuitable for repurposing, according to a building condition assessment last spring.

By Gabrielle Plonka on October 27, 2020

Macaulay Lodge in Riverdale has been deemed unsuitable for repurposing, according to a building condition assessment last spring.

“Upgrades required to critical envelope and safety systems make the option of repurposing cost-prohibitive,” Richard Mostyn, the minister of Highways and Public Works, told the legislative assembly earlier this month.

“At this time, it’s too expensive to fix to use again.”

Macaulay Lodge opened in 1969 as a continuing care facility.

It was closed in February 2019 after all its residents were moved to the new facilities in Whistle Bend and Copper Ridge.

The building has stood empty since its closure.

Mostyn said a future-use analysis conducted last spring found that the building is no longer in line with safety standards.

Hazardous materials are evident throughout the facility. Repurposing the building would require hazmat removal and structural upgrades, the minister explained.

The government will either sell the property or demolish the building and construct something new in its place. 

Yukon Party MLA Geraldine Van Bibber suggested the land should be sold to private developers and turned into residential housing.

“As we are well aware, all types of land are scarce in Whitehorse right now,” Van Bibber said.

John Streicker, the minister of Community Services, said decisions around private development fall under the municipal government.

“We ask that they lead first by planning and by telling us, through their Official Community Plans, where they would like to see development, including infill,” Streicker said.

“Anytime that land is going to become available, we are in conversation with … the City of Whitehorse.”

Comments (35)

Up 0 Down 0

Mike on Nov 3, 2020 at 12:01 am

"“As we are well aware, all types of lands are scarce in Whitehorse right now, Van Bibber said”
Seriously??? Has she looked outside once in her life? There are millions of square kilometers of land in the Yukon. It's the government which deliberately blocks land release to keep the prices artificially high.

Up 5 Down 2

Wilf Carter on Nov 2, 2020 at 1:15 pm

Right now city of Whitehorse is 1800 family units short and nothing is being done about it. Our city is turning into another Fort Mac. Flight in and flight out with very little benefits to Yukoners.

Up 5 Down 2

Wilf Carter on Nov 2, 2020 at 12:37 pm

Fir is solid if beams were build right and that means there is a possibility to redevelop the building. The old Canada tire store had hardwood beams in it and they redeveloped it. Some told me that the school in Riverdale they removed had hardwood beams.
50 years ago when these buildings were built hardwood or fire beams were used in main structures of the building.
Mount MC building has beams in it.

Up 5 Down 1

TMYK on Nov 2, 2020 at 8:23 am

@Wes You forgot to mention that location was the only one the city would agree for the homeless shelter to be built on so they didn't really have much choice.

Up 6 Down 5

YTBuilder on Nov 1, 2020 at 1:25 pm

Wilf, you honestly think there's a chance that Macaulay lodge could be a "hardwood structure"?
Some of the old Federal residences had some Doug fir in them, same with what is now the set of ed building. But hardwood? And you wanted to be mayor?

Up 10 Down 1

Wes on Nov 1, 2020 at 8:38 am

For all of you speculating how the liberals and/or their perceived friends will benefit from a sale of this building, remember that The Yukon Party paid the owners of the old Yukon Honda site (prominent, long time Yukon conservative family) full market value even though it was contaminated with fuel oil. Taxpayers footed a massive remediation bill to allow for the construction of the Centre of Hope (there's an oxymoron eh?).
The Yukon Government has to divest itself of the liability of this property. If they sold it as is, the future owners could and probably would come after the government if any contaminants were found.

Up 7 Down 4

Wilf Carter on Oct 31, 2020 at 6:29 pm

Great comments and ideas. If that is a hardwood structure the building can be repurposed because you have a solid base to build from for a new building.
I'd like several people in the know to go through the building and look at it before any final decision is made. Minister of highway when can you organize time to take them through the building?

Up 20 Down 2

Guncache on Oct 30, 2020 at 6:53 pm

With the outrageous price of lumber, at least make an attempt to let people salvage lumber, doors, insulation, fixtures. Don't dump it in the landfill

Up 14 Down 2

Square on Oct 30, 2020 at 1:55 pm

@Richard Bishop
Timber frame is very different than stick framed. In North America, stick framing is all softwood. Timber framing is almost exclusively hardwood; 8, 12 and 16 inch squared and yes, timber framing can last centuries.

A 2x4 stick framed house subject to temps of -40 to +40 will be is pretty rough shape in 50 years and likely pile of rubble in 100.

Up 13 Down 1

Richard Bishop on Oct 30, 2020 at 8:14 am

Europe is full of timber-framed structures dating back hundreds of years, including manors, castles, homes, and inns, whose architecture and techniques of construction have evolved over the centuries. In Asia, timber-framed structures are found, many of them temples that have stood for centuries.

Up 12 Down 2

SB on Oct 30, 2020 at 7:49 am

Aren't the lists for homes with Yukon Housing and Anti-Poverty Coalition show the urgent needs for affordable housing? Can the Ministers work together at planning for this site based on current needs and actual data?

Up 8 Down 2

Vlad on Oct 29, 2020 at 7:34 pm

@guncache - they have been built differently than that joke in north America.

Up 20 Down 0

Chuck on Oct 29, 2020 at 3:45 pm

@ Peter Mulcahy
I'd wager 75% of the homes in Riverdale (and PC) have asbestos. It was used heavily in construction when that neighborhood went up.
It's in air-vent tape. Drywall compound. Barker board. Popcorn ceilings. Floor tiles. Outdoor siding.

Up 14 Down 5

Chuck on Oct 29, 2020 at 3:42 pm

@ Guncache
Apples and Oranges, son.

Until recently Yukon homes are built on a 2x6 wooded basement with 2x4 walls. Meanwhile in Europe they are building with brick or stone. That's why our building are replaced every 40 or 50 years.

The cost of building with brick or stone would be cost prohibitive here just shipping a house worth of brick up the highway alone.

Up 17 Down 2

Fredia on Oct 29, 2020 at 10:28 am

We agree the property should be sold to a developer. There are a number of empty-nesters in Riverdale that are still in their homes. They could downsize if they could stay in Riverdale. Their friends, neighbours and community ties are in Riverdale. Condominiums are ideal for that. It would free up single family homes to ease the housing shortage a mite. Family homes for families in Riverdale, with all the schools right here.

Up 23 Down 4

Arm Anderson on Oct 29, 2020 at 8:01 am

Repurpose it into a burlesque house. It has the location and the foot traffic.

Up 6 Down 34

Nathan Living on Oct 29, 2020 at 12:26 am

It's an ideal location for a young offenders rehabilitation site and a place for youth at risk to frequent.
Let's invest in our youth.

Up 21 Down 12

Pierre on Oct 28, 2020 at 9:42 pm

I know let's make a french first and only language school with a touch of arts and much drama.

Up 4 Down 11

mary lynn drul on Oct 28, 2020 at 8:08 pm

When I see so many homeless or ads requesting housing I think of all the empty places privately owned around town. But this building has been reported to be not suitable for reno's due to many reasons. Insulation problem, etc. I remember with the new roof it was still leaking. Seems like a turmoil of what to do. Save money, put in a park or housing of some sort. Making sure it has a safety measure around it as that intersection is busy.

Up 18 Down 7

Charlie's Aunt on Oct 28, 2020 at 1:05 pm

Mostyn wants to sell it - nice move so buyer has the headache of dealing with it.
Greiko is correct, don't disturb asbestos, that is when it becomes hazardous. Probably not ideal for seniors, but has anyone done a study on how many cases of asbestos related illness occurred in residents over past 50 years? Times have changed and the location is no longer suitable for a senior residence; too close to traffic on a busy street, with a short sloping driveway that can be hazardous to wheelchair users. This is why it was designated an intermediate home after CRP & TC opened. The residents who lived in ML loved it, mostly because of its homelike and non-institutional atmosphere, but renos to plumbing and other parts of building have proved expensive over the years so unfortunately its day was done as a senior residence.
Congested as Riverdale already is I think we can see the future of the land - condo blocks or strata housing coming up. Would be good of YT to tell who did the assessment.
@ Idea! I enjoyed your comment - too many with no sense of ha ha giving you thumbs down.

Up 32 Down 2

LA on Oct 28, 2020 at 10:35 am

Not sure why so many disliked Idea!'s comment. It was obviously sarcastic, and very funny. Sad thing is, the city would probably consider it...

Up 38 Down 13

Max Mack on Oct 28, 2020 at 9:48 am

This decision has grease written all over it. The only question in my mind is this: which Liberal-friendly company or group will be getting the property.

Up 22 Down 8

Peter Mulcahy on Oct 28, 2020 at 7:25 am

Hazardous materials are evident throughout the facility. Repurposing the building would require hazmat removal and structural upgrades, the minister explained.

And people who lived there for years.

Up 33 Down 14

Lenin would be proud on Oct 27, 2020 at 7:10 pm

Hopefully at the next election the Liberal government will not be repurposed either. However, it appears that Silver and crew have imported too many for that hope to remain... The United Force of Ontarians (UFOs) is here... Everyone drop their trousers because the government reinforcement troops are here and the UFOs have come to take over... It's probing time!

Up 34 Down 12

Guncache on Oct 27, 2020 at 6:29 pm

A 50 year old building and they want to tear it down. Go to European countries and they have houses and buildings 100's of years old and will be standing 100's of years from now.

Up 42 Down 1

Yukon Justice on Oct 27, 2020 at 6:22 pm

My company renovated Macauly Lodge about ten years ago. It was ready to be torn down then. The plumbing alone was a huge reno, we were given a good extra on that.

Up 21 Down 41

JohnW on Oct 27, 2020 at 5:40 pm

That building could be repurposed for low cost housing, however the LIBgov wants to declare it "unsuitable for repurposing". That way they can sell the lot for a huge profit and get someone else to do the demolition and clean-up. Macaulay Lodge is a black-hole money-pit and the govt wants rid of it.

Up 43 Down 22

stephen on Oct 27, 2020 at 4:37 pm

How about first we see if there is need of more seniors housing or we see if rental properties can be built before lining the pockets of developers on condos.

The land should be single family homes or town houses before condo's go up.

Up 32 Down 33

HA on Oct 27, 2020 at 4:30 pm

Residential development? Riverdale is already so congested. I would rather see commercial development on that plot of land.

Up 68 Down 2

BnR on Oct 27, 2020 at 4:17 pm

Demolish the building and either build some sort of seniors aging in place/semi-assisted living complex or let a private developer do the same.
Perfect location for this type of complex.

Up 61 Down 10

greiko on Oct 27, 2020 at 4:12 pm

Few things seem a little odd, first it's too cost prohibitive because of dangerous materials and the like yet Mostyn says they may look at selling it?? Second if it's abestos that they are referring to I would suggest they leave it alone, it's fine as long as it's not disturbed, elderly have been living there for 50 years. Surely it can be re-purposed. Perhaps Zedda and Kobyashi did the assessment!

Up 25 Down 23

Lost In the Yukon on Oct 27, 2020 at 3:33 pm

That is what Peter Jenkins proposed when he was Minister of HSS ... along with a Health Board that oversaw the Hospitals, Mental Health, Home Care, ADS ... so Slippery Sandy’s government is really a clone of the Yukon Party.

Up 31 Down 42

Idea! on Oct 27, 2020 at 3:32 pm

Build another school! Riverdale needs another school.

Up 11 Down 23

Wilf Carter on Oct 27, 2020 at 1:16 pm

What the salvage value of the parts of the building like the newer windows? Is there any material in it that needs to be sent to Alberta to be dealt with like the school and old city building?

Up 30 Down 14

Wilf Carter on Oct 27, 2020 at 1:13 pm

Maybe in government cost measurements, sell to the highest bidder and see what they can do with it. It could make a site for seniors - a 4 story building next to park land grocery store etc.

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