Inuvik building owner concerned as neighbouring buildings touch

Two buildings in Inuvik, N.W.T. — the vacant Eskimo Inn and the Professional Building, which houses about six businesses — have been touching for more than a year.

The Professional Building is owned by Inuvik Commercial Properties Zheh Gwizu', a joint venture between Northview REIT and Gwich'in' Tribal Council.

"There's no danger on our building in any shape or form; it's simply just touching," said Jonathan Renko, director of Northview REIT's commercial division.

But Renko said he has been aware of a debate about which downtown Inuvik building is leaning on which.

Renko said the two buildings have been very close to each other for years, ever since the Professional Building had an elevator installed, which increased the size of the front of the building.

Mackenzie Scott/CBC

The building on Mackenzie Road houses businesses such as the I.D.A. Drug Mart, the Arctic Energy Alliance and the Western Arctic Business Development Corporation.

Although the Eskimo Inn has been out of business for years, it is still owned by the Mackenzie Delta Group.

Renko said when the buildings started to touch, his organization approached the owner of the inn, but the owner of the inn "at first … denied it and said it's our building moving."

An engineering firm was in Inuvik this week to evaluate the Professional Building. Renko said that the company hired the firm to determine which building was shifting.

"I was told by the engineer, because they brought all of their engineering instruments, that our building has not moved at all," he said, adding that he is waiting for the engineering firm to complete its report.

Renko said he hopes to bring the report to the Mackenzie Delta Group, and he hopes the two organizations can have a conversation on how to rectify the situation.

Jonathan Renko

No danger yet

Renko said the engineer also assured him there is no danger of the Eskimo Inn "falling over" at this time.

According to Renko, it's only the edge of the eves of the inn that's touching the Professional Building, "so really there's not a lot of extra weight on our building at this point."

"If left un-dealt-with down the road, it's going to continue leaning and putting more weight on our building, so it's something we need to address with the owner of that hotel," he said.

Vince Brown is listed as the contact for the Mackenzie Delta Group. When the contact number for the organization was called, it went to Brown's voicemail. While CBC News was leaving a message requesting comment on the situation, a man interrupted the message, said "No comment" without identifying himself, and hung up.

Grant Hood, senior administrative officer for the Town of Inuvik, said the town's director of protective services looked at the touching buildings and concluded there wasn't any immediate concern for public safety.

Hood said the town will consider the completed engineering report on the Professional Building.

Renko said his company only wants the over-hang from the Eskimo Inn to be trimmed, in order to end the touching.