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Mayor’s deciding vote buys downtown Yellowknife lot

Yellowknife, NWT – The City of Yellowknife will spend $1.45m purchasing a vacant downtown parking lot after the mayor broke a tie among councillors.

Mayor Mark Heyck’s deciding vote on Monday night will see the lot, next to Yellowknife’s Centre Square mall, acquired by the city and set aside for redevelopment.

The mayor had earlier told Moose FM he believed the city must take the lead in downtown revitalization, with other developers waiting for the city to make the first move.

He reiterated that message at Monday’s meeting, saying: “Downtown revitalization has been a core goal of this council from day one.

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“This motion gives us our first concrete opportunity to show real commitment and leadership to revitalizing downtown Yellowknife.”

The city will also sell three other, nearby lots to help fund the purchase of the vacant lot, which straddles 50th Street and 50th Avenue. Officials hope to raise up to $1.3m from that sale.

Not everyone agreed with the purchase. Councillor Phil Moon Son voted against the acquisition.

“We need to be able to provide some type of solid plan to move forward, or the residents are going to view that as a lack of readiness,” he said, referring to question marks over the ultimate end product to be built on the lot.

Artists’ renderings provided by the city show a park or plaza vision for the lot, though the city has since been at pains to stress there are dozens of options and no decisions have been made.

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“The plaza concept is only a concept at this point,” said Heyck on Monday. “We will follow this with further public consultation and further engagement with downtown stakeholders to determine what the ultimate end use is for that particular lot.”

You can read the views of some residents on the city’s Facebook page, where the city is already branding the redeveloped 50th Street “the heart of Yellowknife” (pictured above).

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