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NNSL Photo

Fort Smith Mayor Peter Martselos and Western Arctic MP Ethel Blondin-Andrew discuss the future of the St. Anne hospital earlier this year. - NNSL file photo

St. Anne's going, going, gone

Andrew Raven
Northern News Services

Fort Smith (July 28/03) - The end has finally come for the St. Anne Hospital in Fort Smith. The 51-year-old structure was torn down earlier this month to make way for a new seniors centre and a small park.

Empty for close to 15 years, the hospital was considered an environmental and fire hazard. Last month Fort Smith Fire Chief Darren Linaker said it was an accident waiting to happen.

"We've worried about (it) for a long time," he said.

The building was full of asbestos, PCBs and other dangerous materials, some of which had to shipped to Edmonton for treatment.

It took 55 workers over a month to tear the building down.

The project cost $1.2 million, $750,000 of which came from DIAND. Human Resources and Development Canada contributed another $100,000, while local organizations like Aurora College, the town, the Fort Smith Metis Council and the Salt River First Nation offered in-kind contributions.

Uncle Gabe's Friendship Centre, which owns the land, plans to sell it to the NWT Housing Corporation which will then convert it into a seniors residence.