City of Yellowknife to take over government dock

Yellowknife City Hall is about to impose some order to the chaos that now prevails at the city's busiest dock.

Over the years, the government dock in Old Town has become a storage area for derelict vehicles, a free parking lot, and a place to tie up your boat for as long as you like.

The city is now finalizing an agreement to take control of the dock from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

It is planning to remove all of the derelict vehicles and charge people for parking and moorage but mayor Gord Van Tighem said the committee overseeing the changeover hasn't decided what the fees will be.

“If you look back over the last five to seven years, this particular area, there's been some strong requests from the neighbours that we develop it into a public accessible facility and make it park-like, so this one is a win-win,” he said.

Penelope Shaw has been living on a houseboat for 22 years and uses the public dock almost every day.

“I was actually in the water once at break-up and couldn't get out. Pushed by the wind and the waves with my canoe in the water, freezing, and I couldn't get out because of the [vehicle] bumpers hanging over the edge,” she said.

“I feel the city could do a good job if they chose to and if they had a basic understanding of rights of access and were able to consider things like this is not a parking lot and not a private marina.”

She points to a large privately owned barge that's been tied up to the dock for years, at no charge to the owner.

“I'd like to see a standard thing where you have four hours of access, you can tie up a boat if you need to. After that you pay a fee, usually a dollar a day per foot, and there's a decreasing fee for commercial vessels like East Arm Freighting and fishermen.”

The city is giving people until Sept. 20 to move their vehicles and other property off the dock.

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