Stairs to Yellowknife city hall re-open to public

After months of periodic closures, the upgraded stairs to Yellowknife city hall opened on Tuesday. (Sidney Cohen/CBC - image credit)
After months of periodic closures, the upgraded stairs to Yellowknife city hall opened on Tuesday. (Sidney Cohen/CBC - image credit)

After months of periodic closures — and hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs and upgrades — the outdoor stairs to Yellowknife's city hall are finally usable again.

City spokesperson Sarah Sibley said Tuesday that the stairs are now open, and thanked residents "for their patience while maintenance was taking place."

The city hall stairs now have red railings and lights. On Tuesday they were shovelled and scattered with sand.

The stairs had been closed for extended periods over the last two years. The city said the stairs were blocked off for maintenance work in 2020, and also during COVID, when access to city hall was restricted to the lower level for screening purposes.

Most recently, the city said, the stairs were closed for "warranty work resulting from the original maintenance tender."

The city has refused to say exactly how much all the work on the stairs cost.

City spokesperson Richard McIntosh said last month that the city "does not disclose the conditions of contracts as these are legal agreements between the City of Yellowknife and contractors."

He said the work was "completed within the budget of $667,450."

Sidney Cohen/CBC
Sidney Cohen/CBC

The city also has not given specific answers to questions about exactly what maintenance and warranty work was needed.

However, tender records from 2020 suggest the concrete had been degrading and attempts to repair it hadn't worked. Budget documents from 2020 say there were "ongoing issues with peeling, cracking and safety," and that the city hoped to improve lighting of the stairs and cut down on maintenance.

Last December, community services director Grant White told city council that there were issues with the metal and draining.

Kasteel Construction and Coatings Inc. won the 2020 contract for construction work on the stairs, which was valued at $503,245.92.

President Trevor Kasteel told CBC News the warranty work was related to problems with the steel railings, and the fixes would come at no extra cost to the city.