Workers back in Whitehorse federal building 2 weeks after evacuation

Government workers are back in a federal building in Whitehorse, two weeks after they were told to clear out because of "structural concerns" with the 1950s-era heritage building.

The big white edifice at 419 Range Road, known as the Takhini Complex, was closed up Oct. 21 on short notice. Dozens of federal and territorial government workers were forced to find temporary work space elsewhere.

A spokesperson for Fisheries and Oceans Canada — one of the tenants — said last week that construction work on the parking lot had found "inconsistencies with ground stability" at the front of the building. Engineers then found "concerns with the structural integrity of the building."

Steve Gotch, who works for Fisheries and Oceans in the building, said he's not sure what the exact problem was. But he said his department received the all-clear on the weekend, and moved back in on Monday.

"We haven't received any specific information with respect to the concerns, other than the building has been cleared to be re-occupied by the tenants," he said.

Paul Tukker/CBC

Gotch also says the front entrance of the building is still blocked off though, because of ongoing construction work. The public entrance has been moved to the east side of the building for now.

Fisheries and Oceans has 42 workers in the building. There are also 24 Environment Yukon workers, and a dozen Yukon Water Board employees.

Gotch said it wasn't a major disruption for his department. Staff were able to quickly set up temporary shop in the Elijah Smith building downtown.

Now back at 419 Range Road, it's "business as usual," he says. He's not worried about any ongoing issues with the 67-year-old building.

"We haven't experienced any significant challenges of this nature in the past, and certainly don't expect to in the near future. It has been a well-built or well-constructed building, in our experience," he said.