CEO Weekly Newsletter: May 31, 2021

Human Rights Commission Visit

Last week we had the pleasure of hosting Mr. Charles Dent, Chair of the NWT Human Rights Commission.

Mr. Dent is a well known Yellowknifer who founded CJCD Radio Ltd in 1979, was a Yellowknife City Council member in 1984, was a business owner with wife Eileen in 1986, then in 1991 he was elected as MLA for Frame Lake for which he remained for 16 years.

Mr. Dent was appointed Chair of the NWT Human Rights Commission on July 1st, 2012. This was an important visit for AVENS and our Pavilion project, let me explain this significance. From the very beginning of the project, accessibility standards were very important for our success.

Working with the right project manager, architectural design team and builder were key in establishing a proper barrier free design for our seniors. We can say with a degree of pride that the AVENS Pavilion project is fully accessible for our senior resident clientele. It meets section 7.3 from the Statement of Requirements (Barrier Free Design Guidelines for accessibility and the CSA B651 guidelines).

"Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being’s entitlement by virtue of their humanity." - Mother Teresa

(L to R) President/CEO of AVENS, Daryl Dolynny, enjoying an outdoor “mask-free” moment with the Chair of the NWT Human Rights Commission, Mr. Charles Dent

We have made sure that traction characteristics for wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and crutch tips are of the highest grade of anti-slip. We will have an “arctic entry” vestibule with large barrier free doorways to allow for barrier free visibility and self-autonomy.

Inside, we will have centrally located elevators to provide access to all three levels of resident living and amenities for the residents and staff alike. Hallways will be equipped with handrails on both sides to aid and guide mobility throughout the facility.

Flooring will be flush with no floor disruption from the exterior through to the facility interior, again allowing barrier-free access.

Our washrooms will include wheelchair accessible showers, lowered counters, grab bars, and sloped floor drainage designed to work together without negatively impacting the shower experience.

Our kitchens will include lowered counters with proper toe space under the cabinets enabling a person with mobility devices to maneuver with ease.

This is just to name a few of the specific modifications AVENS has made to meet Canada’s ratified United Nation Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities from March 2010. This Convention adopts a broad categorization of reaffirming that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The AVENS Pavilion Development Team are confident that the principles of “accommodation”, “accessibility”, through “universal access”, and “barrier-free design” have been thoroughly considered for this project.

Being one of the first buildings of this “barrier- free” caliber in the NWT is no easy feat, so working alongside the NWT Human Rights Commission in collaboration and making sure this historic project is on the right track is just another important step in reaching our goal.

One milestone at a time…so stay tuned for more important aspects of this project in the weeks to follow.

Yellowknife Community Clean-Up 2021

On Tuesday, May 25th, 2021 a group of 21 enthusiastic AVENS staff, spouses, and family volunteers showed up in Old Town in support of this years annual Yellowknife Community Spring Clean Up.

AVENS Yellowknife Community Clean Up Crew 2021

Besides being able to lend a hand in cleaning our City, this group also raised over $1000 that will go towards our AVENS Social Committee for staff events.

This clean up was postponed by one week partly due to a snowstorm the weekend before, but mainly because temperatures outside were still below seasonal norms.

On this day however, although sunny, it was far from considered warm. In fact, our team was responsible for cleaning around the Gov’t dock area and along School Draw Ave. If you are not aware, this area is directly adjacent to the still frozen Great Slave Lake. Brrrrrr!

Social media post from the City of Yellowknife

Interestingly, you get to really know your neighborhood whilst rummaging in the ditches and bushes. It amazing what blows around in a city.

The evening wasn’t without some surprises. It’s amazing what unique and strange “treasures”

(Clockwise starting top left) A Jason’s (look-a- like) mask from Friday the 13th, a kitchen sink, a happy coffee lid, a pink/purple buddy, a twisted fork and some eyeglasses

Thank you again for our organizers, the volunteers in attendance and for the winners of the various prize categories.

“…what unique and strange ‘treasures’ you find…”

See you again next spring!

Court And Ridge Annual Town Hall 2021

On Thursday May 27th, 2021, the AVENS Office of the President/CEO hosted its annual Court and Ridge Town Hall with its residents.

Due to weather, this years event took place at the Baker Community Centre. Furthermore, bound by Covid restrictsons, participation was capped at 25 for this venue.

The “What’s Happening at AVENS” power point was shared with 20 residents. After reviewing the 2020 upgrades that took place, we were pleased to annouce the 2021 planned improvements.

With a much more limited budget this year of $58,000, AVENS plans to paint all the AVENS Court and Ridge outside doors, continue our painting and staining program, improve our ground work projects, create new “comfort areas”, install new smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and continue making improvments to our AVENS Growing Cooperative programming.

Our Director of Operations, Steven Nicholas explaining emergency management programs to our independent housing residents

As well, discussions around the launch of our new website, our soon to be unveiled Operation Care on Call and of course our Pavillion Expansion also drove much interest.

AVENS is pleased to offer this type of annual interraction with our independent housing residents and we look forward to the various projects unfold in the months to follow.

AVENS Pavilion Project Development Appeal Board Hearing

Project Manager, Mr. Thomas Milan and your President/CEO, alongside our legal counsel Mr. Toby Kruger, Partner of Lawson Lundell, LLP took our stand in front of the City of Yellowknife Development Appeal Board. In attendance were a number of our Directors from our Operations Team and our Board Chair (thank you!), however many of you watched from the comfort of your homes while this was being web cast.

While most of the proceedings were aimed at the City of Yellowknife validation of their own development process, this did not appear to deter the neighbours of Matonabee street seeking an injunction on our projects continuance in the permitting process.

(L to R) Toby Kruger, Thomas Milan and Kelly Hayden

Armed with fact, case law and a strong resolve, I must say our Development Team and our Legal Team did a fantastic job. Of course, we must now wait for the ruling of this appeal board and we will keep you informed along this journey.

Reflecting on AVENS values and beliefs, we realize, we will still need to work with our neighbours throughout this project and beyond.

Therefore, we seek a speedy and fair resolution that allows us to continue building our much needed affordable housing project for our seniors and our community.