UPDATE: Hay River high rise not up for auction

Mackenzie Place after March 15th high rise apartment fire, Hay River. (Photo by MyTrueNorthNow.com staff.)
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Update 2:31 p.m. June 10: Twenty four hours after going on the market, the property is no longer up for sale.

In a post to Facebook, the Town of Hay River said the property had been removed from the property auction list.

“Multiple registrations against the property have been identified of which the Town’s legal representative will need to provide appropriate notice of the intent to auction,” the post read. “An auction for the property will be scheduled at a future date to be determined.”

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The troubled tale of the Hay River high rise has a new twist. The building has been put up for auction by the Town of Hay River.

The apartment block, which has sat vacant for two years since a fire forced residents to evacuate, is up for sale for $1.45 million. 

The owner of the building, Harry Satdeo, has unpaid property taxes totalling around $170,000, according to the town’s Senior Administrative Officer Glenn Smith, who spoke with Cabin Radio.

Now the building is up for auction. If the Town of Hay River doesn’t receive the money they are owed prior to the auction, which is set for 9 a.m. on June 10, then the property can go up for auction. The high rise won’t be put up for sale if the town receives its money.

The Hay River highrise has had a long journey to this point, with issues existing in the building before the fire happened in 2019, according to Housing Minister Paulie Chinna.

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Issues with asbestos and other health concerns had not been repaired.

In March, Satdeo said he was optimistic progress could be made with the building, after he said the Chief Public Health Officer had approved a third party consultant company to do some assessments on the building, when speaking with NNSL.

Back in 2019, in the months after the fire had happened, the former Health and Social Services Minister Glen Abernathy said the GNWT had ordered Satdeo to hire a third party contractor to assess the building.

It is not clear if that work went ahead, considering Chinna said she had not received a report of the condition of the building in the Legislative Assembly in March.

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In March, MLA for Hay River South Rocky Simpson criticized Chinna and the housing department for what he said was inaction on the part of the NWT Housing Corporation, even suggesting the minister responsible for the corporation, Paulie Chinna, be removed from cabinet.

“My concern is that, when we lost the high rise, it displaced a number of people, and when people get displaced in Hay River, they are either on the street or they may not tend to move to Yellowknife or other northern communities; they tend to move south,” Simpson says.

A criminal investigation into the cause of the fire did not find enough evidence to support criminal charges.

Cpl. Greg Morrow of Major Crimes said at the time that while this may not be the news people wanted to hear, it is important to remember that the investigation can be reopened should new evidence come forward.

Residents can register for the auction by calling Susan Gallardo at 867-874-6522.

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