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NNSL Photo/graphic

David Gilday (left), a resident of School Draw Avenue, sitting next to city corporate services director Dave Devana, warned city council Monday to make sure Bartam developer sticks to his plans. - Mike W. Bryant/NNSL photo

Duplex plan for Bartam

Mike W. Bryant
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Nov 11/05) - Twelve years after Bartam Trailer Court's original inhabitants were evicted, city council is looking at a new proposal to develop the site.

Real estate developer Mike Mrdjenovich wants to build a 16-unit duplex project on the wedge of land between School Draw and Franklin avenues.

A proposal from Mrdjenovich's Nova Builders introduced at Monday's municipal services committee meeting offers the city $800,500 for the 7,900 square-metre property.

City planners declined to consider Nova's alternate proposal for a 58-unit, four-storey apartment building for the same site.

Mrdjenovich said he may not go ahead with the project, however, because it may prove too expensive.

"We wanted to put in a nice big apartment but they kind of forced us to do this duplex," said Mrdjenovich.

"We're just working on the economics right now to see if it even makes sense."

Mrdjenovich estimates the duplexes will cost $250,000 each to build. He thinks he can sell them for $280,000 at best.

Each of the 16 two-storey, three-bedroom units will come with a private deck, fireplace, and large picture window in the living room.

This isn't Nova's first stab at developing the property. In 2000, the company proposed a 30-unit complex for seniors and single adults. Faced with wide public resistance to the plan, council voted it down.

When the city forced 17 trailer owners off the site in 1993, the talk was of converting the land into a marina and boat launch. That scheme fell by the wayside after the city took over the Giant Mine boat launch with its deeper, less treacherous waters in 1999.

Coun. Bob Brooks supports the duplex plan, but would like to see some public use for the area.

"Basically, where the Rotary park is, we could do a boardwalk going out," said Brooks.

"But including a restaurant which would also serve as a breakwater and possibly for docking, although I know the bottom is not good there."

David Gilday was the only resident who spoke to the duplex proposal at the Monday meeting.

He didn't object to the plan, but wanted assurances that access to trails on Twin Pine Hill wouldn't be lost.

Gilday warned council to make sure Mrdjenovich sticks to his plans and doesn't change them after construction begins.

He was referring Nova Builders' apartment complex on Old Airport Road next to the hospital. Mrdjenovich originally applied to build a hotel but later changed his mind after the site was blasted and cleared.

"If the plans change mid-stream, it should go back to whatever it was before, whatever the cost," Gilday chuckled.

The city is requesting more detailed plans for the Bartam duplexes before they will allow the project to proceed.