As shovels get ever closer to the ground, Inuvik Town Councillors got their latest glimpses of the design for Chief Jim Koe Park at their Aug. 10 Committee of the Whole meeting.
Tourism director Jackie Challis presented the mostly-finalized plans in a half-hour slideshow, which the town has published on its website. She noted the renderings are concept designs and the final park won’t look exactly like the images shown.
“For example, it looks as though you can still drive your car all the way around. That actually will not be the case,” she said. “The road on the back will be pedestrian only.”
So far, the old stage has been removed and construction of the new stage is expected to begin by the end of August, and the whole project is scheduled to be completed by December. The fate of the original kiosk and the original sign describing the park’s history is yet to be determined.
The performance pavilion, as it has been named, will be a covered stage and area to enable a longer season to have outdoor activities, as well as provide a space for everything from weddings to rock concerts.
Challis said the final design was approved, along with four major components and installation was waiting on the delivery of a few remaining pieces before the new stage could be assembled, with the bleachers to be delivered sometime in September. The canopy that will cover the entire pavilion is still undergoing engineering and assessment but is also expected to arrive in September.
“We just want to make sure, because of the size of the membrane, that we’re addressing issues as they’re related to snow load and wind load,” said development officer Kecil Joseph. “The engineers have come back with a design and we’ve sent it to the membrane people and they’re having a look at it.”
The covered stage will be able to be closed off during the winter months.
Also part of the project is a new Visitor Centre that will also serve as the home to the Arctic Market. Challis noted that originally there was to be two separate buildings but the two were combined into one structure to fit into budget efficiencies, as well as minimize utilidor connections.
With a capacity of up to 25 vendors in non-pandemic times and a controlled environment, Challis said the new space would be able to provide a year-round tourism hot spot.
“By having a permanent structure and having something not weather dependent,” she said. “This building is not just for markets. We can’t wait to see all the different uses that community groups and other organizations might come up with.
“It’s also important from a town perspective to have a place that is visitor-centric. As we know, for anyone who has visited the town office — it’s actually quite small. Even if you have just a few people in there to pay a bill or have some questions of the land officer, that space becomes quite full.
“So when you have a tour group or another person asking about which way to travel on the Dempster or try on sweaters, this will allow us to have a very central space. It’s also a place for us to be proud of. It will also have a meeting space for workshops for other groups to use.”
Construction of the building has gone to tender and received 16 bid inquiries. The deadline to put in a bid is Aug. 19 and construction is expected to begin shortly after the contract has been awarded. The building is scheduled to be finished by December.