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Squatters put on notice
Two buildings near Yellowknife to be removed if 'John Doe' doesn't come forward

Daniel Campbell
Northern News Services
Published Saturday, February 15, 2014

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE
The territorial government is looking to clear out trespassers from Commissioner's land, but it has one problem it doesn't know who the trespassers are.

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Structures like this one on Mosher Island are on the chopping block as the territorial government looks to clean up Commissioner's land. - Daniel Campbell/NNSL photo

Emerald Murphy, director of lands and administration with the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA), said there are a handful of structures in the Yellowknife area it deems trespassers, commonly referred to as squatters.

For at least four of the structures, the government is in negotiation with the squatters, who have come forward claiming aboriginal rights.

But two of the structures, one located on Mosher Island and another on the Ingraham Trail past the Yellowknife River bridge, have been a thorn in the government's side.

"In these two cases we're not aware of the identity of the trespassers," Murphy said.

Notices have been posted on the structures, telling the supposed occupants they have until March 28 to respond to the allegations of trespassing. So far, there has been no response.

"Sometimes we get phone calls from people who think they have an aboriginal right to be on that property," Murphy said.

"In most cases people will not phone because they know they've been caught."

Because no one has come forward for the two properties, the government needs to have an application approved in NWT Supreme Court to tear the structures down and remove them.

Murphy isn't sure how long that will take.

"We have a duty to return that land to its original state," she said.

Land officers inspect the Yellowknife area weekly for trespassers, Murphy said. They also rely on information from the public.

It's not often the government needs to remove structures no one has come forward to claim, Murphy added.

"Many of the trespasses are relatively minor, but these structures are ones that need to move."

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