Last updated Friday, Sept. 22 at 2:10 p.m.
“For as long as I can remember, everybody sat in front of that post office.”
Dowrey Lafferty, 63, says she’s been on the street for what seems like forever. In that time, the storefront of Yellowknife’s Canada Post office has served as a hub for the city’s homeless.
“It’s a place to congregate,” says Lafferty. “We check on one another to make sure, ‘are you still alive?'”
Now, the planters have been removed from in front of Yellowknife’s Canada Post branch, which was a popular meeting spot for the city’s homeless and other members of the community.
The planters were removed sometime on Thursday. The entranceway on the side of the building has also been fenced off.
“I cried,” says Lafferty. “I’m not a child. But they took something away that belonged to us.”
Blayne Antoine, who has been on the street since 2005, says he used the space to meet up with friends.
But, he says, “we can’t do nothing about it.”
It was not immediately clear if the storefront’s status as a community hub was related to the planters being removed and the side entrance fenced off.
“It’s not really something that a lot of us really wanted to do, because we know that it’s a place where a person can sit, run into people they know, and watch the world go by,” says Sandra McDaniel, vice-president of JV Developments, which part-owns 6133 NWT Ltd.
In 2021, Canada Post announced the Yellowknife branch would be moved a short distance away, but those plans were later scrapped, according to Cabin Radio.
A spokesperson for Canada Post wrote, “We understand the concerns, however Canada Post leases this facility and does not own the flower beds outside of the building. These belong to the leaseholder.“
CKLB has also reached out to the City of Yellowknife and the building’s owner, Denendeh Investments, for comment. A Canada Post representative has confirmed the branch located at 4902 Franklin Avenue does not have an operational phone number or email address.
More to come on this story.
With files from Mariah Caruso.