Hay River highrise owner still optimistic building will soon re-open

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The Mackenzie Place apartment building remained closed last week by a public health order.

However, the owner is optimistic that the building will be re-opened soon as it recovers from a fire last March.

Harry Satdeo was speaking from a hospital in Edmonton after suffering a heart attack on Feb. 3 and being medevaced to the Alberta capital.

Harry Satdeo, the owner of the Mackenzie Place apartment building, stands in Apt. 1102, the site of a fire in March of last year that has forced the highrise to remain closed ever since.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

“The health department made an appointment to come out and view the place, but I got sick and I was flown out to Edmonton,” he said by telephone. “So probably sometime (this) week somebody will meet with the health department.”

Satdeo hopes to be back in Hay River this week.

In late January, he released two letters from Arctic Environmental Services Ltd. of Alberta outlining its work to deal with mould in the building and asbestos exposed by the fire in Apt. 1102.

And at that time he expressed optimism that it would mean the reopening of the building was near, even saying he hoped to invite in potential tenants to look at the lower two floors.

However, Damien Healy, the communications manager with the Department of Health and Social Services, said on Feb. 6 that the building remained closed to the public.

“I can confirm the order isn’t lifted,” he said in an e-mail to The Hub.

The public health order was issued last year because of asbestos, mould and lead dust in the building.

Healy listed three remaining issues identified by the NWT’s chief public health officer as:

  • documentation to confirm a comprehensive assessment and remediation for asbestos has been completed for the entire building (not just the 11th floor where the fire occurred);
  • documentation to confirm that mould remediation has been completed for the entire building; and
  • documentation from the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission and the Office of the Fire Marshal that other repairs to address known hazards meet their regulatory requirements for the building to be occupied by workers and tenants.

Satdeo described that as requests for technical analysis of the work done by Arctic Environmental Services Ltd.

“I don’t see it as being a big issue, and the company that did the report is dealing with them (the GNWT),” he said.

Satdeo said he is “very much” more optimistic that Mackenzie Place is going to be reopened soon.

“The health department probably has to make a walkthrough and then we should be able to open up,” he said.

The 16-storey Mackenzie Place has been empty of tenants since an estimated 125 people were displaced by the fire on March 15 of last year.

As for his personal medical issue, Satdeo – speaking on Feb. 6 – said he is feeling well, but is a little sore.

Satdeo expressed appreciation to people for “rescuing me” on the day of the heart attack – the ambulance services of the Hay River Fire Department, the medical staff at the Hay River Regional Health Centre, the medevac personnel from Yellowknife, and the staff at Arcan Construction, where he had the heart attack.

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