New airport restaurant coming in fall: YG
With more than $300,000 worth of upgrade work at the city’s airport now awarded, the Yukon government hopes to have a new restaurant in place by the fall
With more than $300,000 worth of upgrade work at the city’s airport now awarded, the Yukon government hopes to have a new restaurant in place by the fall – after the summer tourist season.
A Feb. 25 YG release explained that the existing Shanthi’s Airport Restaurant would close that month after being open for just shy of a decade. A family had run the eatery since November 2009.
Highways and Public Works (HPW) spokespeople told the Star last month that a tender for new food services at Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport was
on track to go out later this spring. The goal to welcome a new restaurant at the site for this fall was also still on track.
Communications analyst Meredith McDonald confirmed that renovations at the airport began in March as promised in that release. They included “repair work to basic building systems, such as plumbing.”
Those plumbing works came with a price-tag of $94,000. The contract was awarded to Whitehorse-based K. Dawe (the other bidder was Wildstone Construction from Penticton, B.C., at more than $320,000). The substantial performance date for this plumbing work is set at June 28.
Other work referenced by the department is HVAC upgrades, for which Arcrite Northern Ltd. of Whitehorse was given the nod for at $227,555 (with the other bidder being Dynamic Systems of Whitehorse at $239,000). The substantial performance date for this HVAC work is set at a similar date of June 28.
Saying these two tenders “have varying degrees of impact on the restaurant space,” another HPW spokesperson, Brittany Cross, added last week that several of the activities at the airport began in March.
“With the closure of the restaurant, the opportunity to complete additional renovations presented itself, so we are taking advantage of that and have included the additional work as part of our work plan,” Cross wrote.
“There has been no delay and our planned timeline has not been altered.”
YG is currently preparing tender documents for the new restaurant which are to come out in spring, McDonald had added.
The department also said the “lessee gave appropriate notice, per the terms and conditions of their contract, that they wished to cease restaurant operations and we worked with them through the transition.”
The closure and timelines around the new restaurant opening up in the fall mean there will be no restaurant at the airport for what is expected to be a busy summer tourist season.
Asked about this concern and how it was being addressed, the department pointed out that the gift shop and vending machines at the terminal are still open, and “there are several other restaurant options in the vicinity of the airport.”
As for why and if the timeline could have been pushed up to accommodate this season, McDonald added the department was working within the timeline provided by the notice that Shanthi’s gave.
It did not specify when it was given that notice, despite the Star asking when it learned the family would be ending its lease.
The last time the restaurant area was significantly updated was when the terminal – without subsequent major additions – opened in 1985.
Meanwhile, according to statistics from the Department of Tourism and Culture, a seasonal snapshot from earlier this year shows air arrivals at the airport during the summer season (May to September) have been higher than those in the winter (October to April) for the last three years.
For the 2017-18 season, for example, there were 98,827 air arrivals compared to 91,679 during the winter at the airport.
There is also a difference in money coming into the territory during these seasons; that same 2017-18 period saw the winter bring in $64 million in retail sales, compared to $78 million for the summer.
Numbers from the Yukon Bureau of Statistics also show tourist activity picks up during the months of January and February from about 3,000 and 4,000 people, to peak season in the warmer months of July and August, when the number of visitors climbs into the six-figure range.