Group hopes to continue building’s legacy of serving community groups
It sits rather quietly between the Children First Centre and Northmart, but the Inuvik Interagency Committee’s building has a long history in the region, and the committee is now looking to move onto the next chapter in its life.
The interagency group was formed in 1984, but the building is much older. It began as a school in Reindeer Station north of Inuvik, but was moved to Inuvik when the city was built.
It began its adopted life in Inuvik as the Northwest Territories Training Centre, a resource for people to increase their training and employment capabilities. As Aurora College took over most of the training programs in town, the centre eventually shut down.
It was moved again from where the high school now is to its current location, avoiding demolition.
“I was looking out my office window the day that they moved it,” said Alana Mero, chair of the interagency committee, recalling a time she was still with the college.
In 2002, having hired a coordinator and needing a permanent space to operate out of, the interagency committee took over ownership of the building.
Now that the interagency group has scaled back, the building is no longer in need. It is seeking proposals from community groups to take over ownership.
“When we got it from the training centre, the deal was that we would pass it on to another non-profit group,” said Mero.
The building is being offered to a community group for $1. The group would still have to cover utilities.
The building has a main room, offices, bathrooms and a kitchen.
“I think it’s special just because so many people in town have been involved with that building,” said Mero.
“Hundreds of people went through the training centre there, people have done arts courses there, we’ve had different workshops there. I think it’s a got a lot of good, solid memories for people. Because it’s still a resource, we want somebody else to take it and keep contributing to the community with it.”
The interagency group was originally formed when community members wished to discuss issues in town as a result of the pressures of the then booming oil and gas industry.
It has since met every third Wednesday of every month and serves as an open platform for people to bring up issues in town and advocate for changes.
Many programs have either come directly from the interagency committee or been pushed in the interagency committee, from the justice committee to the Children First Centre and homelessness resources.
It is intended as a fluid group, where members of the public are welcome to attend. When there is a big issue in town, maybe 40 people will show up. When not too much is going on, it’s more like a dozen.
With the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline looking like a reality back in the early 2000s, the interagency committee hired a coordinator to prepare for any issues that development might create in the region.
“Back then we really didn’t have a lot of any services for the homeless, so that was one of the big issues we took on,” said Mero.
But with the pipeline not going through, the need for the building dissipated. The interagency group currently meets at the Aurora Research Institute.
The interagency group is receiving proposals for a community group to take it over.
Applicants will need to state what their need for the space is, how they’re going to use it and how that will benefit the community.
“The whole idea of the interagency is we’re trying to benefit the community, so it’s not intended for a private business, but if there’s another non-profit group in town or one of the land claims groups that says, ‘Here’s what we can use it for,’ and that sounds like it would be good for Inuvik, then they can take it over,” said Mero.
“The last thing we want is it just sits there or in the end we end up tearing it down because nobody wants it.”
The group will be receiving proposals until May 15.