The New Faces of Dawson

While it’s rare to find a weekend in the Dawson summer when there’s not a major event, things do tend to slow down a bit after the Discovery Day weekend and the Yukon Riverside Arts Festival.

The next big thing here is the Klondike International Outhouse Race, but that doesn’t take place until Labour Day weekend, which makes it a suitable topic for my next column.

Time then, to return to an earlier topic, and one of great significance in Dawson this summer: construction.

The last spate of major construction here was about 10 years ago now, and involved a lot of City of Dawson projects which, were I to write much of them here, would edge this column over into the parlous realm of politics. It’s enough to say that they were the new pool, the new recreation centre and the relocation of the City Office/Fire Hall complex from 5th Avenue to Front Street. (I’ve written about this in an earlier column.)

These were expensive projects, but nothing compared to those under way this summer.

On 3rd Avenue, the KIAC School of Visual Arts is growing a new wing, which will be the new permanent home for the Dawson Campus of Yukon College.

Back when the ground floor of SOVA was the liquor store, the college was one of the many institutions that once occupied the second floor of that building. It’s been in three or four other places since then, and so this is a bit like a homecoming, since it will be on the same corner where it used to live.

Across town on 6th Avenue, there is presently what someone the other day told me was a giant kitty litter box, but that’s just the pad and foundation for what will become the new Dawson cottage hospital and health care centre. It will replace the old one, which is just north of it on the same street.

Up on 5th Avenue, the former Highways Department Grader Station has been cleaned out and detoxified and part of it is being turned into a very expensive wastewater treatment plant. Lately there has been the muted ringing of sewage bells as the two vertical metal shafts are being driven centimetre by centimetre, with much stopping to check alignment, into the ground. They will become a sort of vertical sewage lagoon, with a large building in front to handle other parts of the process.

Just around the corner on Turner Street, another part of the grader yard is becoming a 20-unit apartment building.

Most of these projects will still be under way next summer, though two of them, at least, will be clad to the weather by the end of this building season, so interior work will be able to continue.

These four projects will make major changes to the streetscapes on which they are located.

Some of them have been politically contentious. That is to say, the locations have been; no one objected to the most of the projects themselves.

Be all that as it may, these buildings will make a difference to life in our little corner of paradise.

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