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Chipsealed roads for hamlet

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, August 13, 2009

DEH GAH GOT'IE KOE/FORT PROVIDENCE - Dusty streets in Fort Providence will be a thing of the past within a year, if everything goes according to plan.

The Hamlet of Fort Providence has undertaken a two-year project worth approximately $1.2 million to chipseal all of the streets in the hamlet excluding those in the industrial area.

"Certainly it's going to cut down on the dust," said Susan Christie, the hamlet's senior administrative officer. "Our community residents are really exited about it."

At the moment only Fort Providence's main street is chipsealed. It was done in 2003 as part of the territorial government's capital plan. The hamlet's two-year project will cover approximately 11 km of streets with chipseal, which binds the roads with crushed stone, making it smoother.

In addition to dust, the new road surface will also eliminate the muddy conditions that arise every time the hamlet receives a lot of rain, Christie said.

Hamlet council proposed the chipseal project a few years ago when the new deal for communities in the NWT was adopted through Municipal and Community Affairs, said Christie. When the hamlet developed a community capital plan two years ago the project was included.

Last year the hamlet obtained the approximate 10,000 cubic meters of gravel needed for the roads and had a contractor crush it. Within the next week the hamlet will be putting the remainder of the preparation phase out to tender.

Drainage improvements and embankment construction on the roads need to be completed first throughout the hamlet, Christie said. In 2010 a new contract will be awarded for the application of the chipseal.

The chipseal project is only one of the items that the hamlet is working on.

The hamlet is in the process of awarding a contract to update the community's land use plan, design a new subdivision and write a new zoning bylaw. The hamlet also has plans to completely renovate the recreation centre.

The building is more than 20 years old and needs a lot of upgrades, said Christie, who pointed to the curling rink section that can't be used due to a faulty roof. Plans include putting a concrete floor in the arena, improving the fitness centre, designing new dressing rooms and possibly expanding the size of the community hall, she said.

A study will be conducted over the winter and construction could start in 2010, said Christie.

Other projects include developing a community energy plan, something that all NWT communities are required to have by next year, and conducting a feasibility study for the construction of a new hamlet complex.

The hamlet currently rents its space and needs more room, Christie said. Additionally, the hamlet will be doing internal strategic planning.

"It's very, very busy for a small community like ours. It's very exciting," Christie said.