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NNSL Photo/Graphic

This computer rendering shows Fort McPherson's planned multipurpose building. Residents recently voted in favour of borrowing $1.7 million for the project, which will include an elders' and youth centre. - photo courtesy of Troy Jenkins/Fort McPherson hamlet office

Construction in McPherson

Philippe Morin
Northern News Services
Monday, June 18, 2007

FORT MCPHERSON - Fort McPherson will soon be getting a bright, large multipurpose building, with a youth centre and elders' centre.

A recent plebiscite passed with 92 per cent of the vote, supporting the hamlet's intent to borrow $1.7 million dollars from Yellowknife's Royal Bank and complete the project.

Fort McPherson's Chief Administrative Officer, Troy Jenkins, said the hamlet plans to repay the loan within 10 years.

The rest of the centre's funding comes from the hamlet's own funds and government sources, including the GNWT's Community Capacity Building Fund and Capital Plan, which is a partnership with the federal government.

Jenkins said the total budget for the centre - including planning and design - is estimated at $3.4 million.

The centre has not yet been named.

Fort McPherson's mayor, Rebecca Blake, said she expected progress to happen quickly.

"The pilings are in, and the construction is underway," she said on June 12.

"We are expecting it to be complete by the end of this year."

Jenkins said this is good news, because he feels the building will help the community.

He said a youth centre and elders' centre both scored very high in hamlet polls.

"We began the process by asking the community what they wanted. They said they wanted a youth and elders centre. We went through the design process and came up with a design. It was presented to the community and accepted," he said.

Fort McPherson's seven councillors also unanimously voted in support of the project.

Jenkins added a hamlet bylaw is now being sent to the GNWT's Department of Municipal and Community Affairs for approval. .

It would set a timetable for the hamlet to pay the loan within 10 years.

"There is a provision we can pay it off earlier, and we will endeavour to do that and save any interest that would be incurred," said Jenkins.

He added the project is definitely supported by most people in McPherson.

"Only eight people voted against this in the community," he said.

"You're never going to get unanimous support for anything, but this is almost unheard of."