Since 2004, Marg Green has lived at Northern United Place, considered to be one of the most important community buildings in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Built in 1976, the two-tower, 10-storey property includes 84 affordable apartments, the main campus of Aurora College, two churches and a multi-purpose hall.
“I saw this building when I first moved to Yellowknife to take care of my grandson. I knew right away that I wanted to live here. It is a wonderful place and one of the cleanest apartments around,” Green said.
In 2009, the 35-year-old building received $495,000 in funding through Canada’s Economic Action Plan (CEAP) to replace one of the building’s three boilers with a more efficient unit, install insulation and new steel siding on the first three storeys and upgrade some windows. New digital controls were also installed to better manage heating and air transfer. The retrofits were completed in 2009.
In recognition of the distinctive needs of the North, CEAP provided $200 million over two years, including $50 million for the Northwest Territories, to support construction of new social housing units and to upgrade existing units. Nationally, it also provided $850 million for the renovation and retrofit of existing social housing, and $475 million for the construction of new rental housing for seniors and persons with disabilities, which was delivered by the provinces and territories. For the Northwest Territories, this represented a further federal investment of more than $5 million, which was cost-matched by the territory. Overall, CEAP included $2 billion over two years for the construction of new and the renovation of existing social housing plus $2 billion in low-cost loans to municipalities for housing-related infrastructure across Canada.
The improvements have made Northern United Place a more comfortable building while also reducing operating costs and contributing to the long-term affordability of housing for residents, according to John Soderberg, a member of the building’s board of directors.