The NWT Association of Communities, a longtime downtown tenant housed in the Finn Hansen Building, is staying put in the city’s core.
The association, a non-governmental organization representing municipal and community interests throughout the territory, has occupied the space on 50 Street since 2008, but its future at the downtown building was uncertain earlier this year.
With its current lease set to expire at the end of this month, the NWTAC requested proposals for a new office space location back in late January.
Following a review carried out by the NWTAC board earlier this month, however, a new lease was re-awarded to the non-profit’s current landlord, Finn Hansen Building owner April Desjarlais, NWTAC CEO Sara Brown told NNSL Media Friday.
Last winter, Desjarlais lamented the potential loss of the “pillar tenant.”
Desjarlais said that if the NWTAC were to leave the building, violence and instances of public intoxication at the next-door sobering centre and the day shelter would be to blame.
Desjarlais has been outspoken about public disturbances and violence around the facility following its opening in the fall of 2018.
Desjarlais could not be reached for comment Friday.
In February, Brown told NNSL Media that there had been safety issues and complaints raised by her staff, but said those issues were not the sole driving force behind mulling the move; the lease was expiring and the NWTAC wanted to “explore the market.” Brown reiterated this point on Friday.
“The lease was up and we had an opportunity to gauge the market,” said Brown.
Echoing recent comments from Desjarlais, Brown said she has seen improvements in the area and she credits those positive developments to the Good Neighbour Agreement pushed by Desjarlais in the fall.
But with NWTAC employees working from home and the sobering centre and day shelter reopening following a 30-day lockdown, Brown said it’s hard to gauge how significant those improvements are.
“It’s still not 100 per cent but it has improved,” she said.
NWTAC space gets makeover
With staff working out of the downtown office, NWTAC is taking the opportunity to spruce up the space.
Contractors are currently redoing the floors, said Brown.