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Dare to Dream

Updated: Mar 10, 2020

15 months ago, two random people were brought together as the result of a vague idea that one might be able to help the other. 18 hours after that meeting there was another. Yukon Spaces was formed out of a discussion about values and beliefs in relation to the business, construction, housing, the social and environmental challenges that we are all facing in one way or another, local, national and international economy, politics, favourite memes, podcasts and animal videos (basically nothing was off the table). Not only did we have a company name and a shared sense of purpose but we also had a general strategic plan to focus us on the projects that we had separately conceived of; now with a set of unified objectives, the dream was born. The first project: Dawson Lodge (we'll talk more about the next project in a future post because it's really exciting).

If you've read any of our previous posts, you'll know what we started out with and some of the challenges we have faced and successes we've achieved along the way (if you haven't read them, you will be forgiven but there are lots of pretty pictures to look at so maybe take a look). If you live in Dawson or visit regularly, you might remember the building below. I think it's reasonable to say that there has been quite a visual transformation, both outside and inside.

It's been a lot (and I mean A LOT) of hard work since the start of the project. Just purchasing the building took almost 6 months from the formation of the company (although it had been in Riley's sights for over a year). Riley and our construction team, subcontractors and specialists have all worked incredibly hard to turn this place around. Since May 2019 the building has had new foundations (significant excavation, backfill, new pads) and been levelled (with multiple small adjustments after the big levelling). Now when you walk inside the building it doesn't feel like you're walking up and down hills with bouncy floors. 10 new quad pane windows, 5 new interior doors and exterior front door have dramatically improved sound and thermal insulation. We have a new utility room interior and exterior layout to allow us to do on site laundry. New interior and exterior insulation, including improving existing insulation to the roof space and floor space will make this hotel one of the best insulated buildings in town keeping it warm in the winter and cool in the summer. We have winterised our water system with construction of insulated conduits and pipe heating systems. After a few tweaks at -50, the water has had uninterrupted flow throughout our exposure to -40's here in Dawson. Repairs to the exterior cladding and roof will keep the outside out and the inside in. A completely new front facade, disability friendly access ramp and automatic door opener, new electrics, fire alarm system, mechanical ventilation system and plumbing throughout (all now meet or exceed modern building code requirements). And that's all without even talking about the interiors: modernisation of the en-suite shower rooms, new beds and bedroom furniture (almost all custom built), new interior walls, soundproofing and finishing, smart tech installations including wifi, heating and keyless building/room access. We really hope people prefer the pictures below to the pictures above (if not we really screwed up).

There have been challenges with this project right up to the last couple of weeks. Part of the business model is reliant on smart tech working seamlessly. When a guest book their stay online they automatically receive codes for the building entrances along with their own unique door code that will work only during their stay and a door checkout code to use when they leave. This means that guests aren't reliant on staff to check them in and out. Like with all technology though, there have been developments. In the few months since purchasing the equipment, manufacturers have withdrawn products from support, software companies have changed and the tech they support has also changed. This led to a few weeks of frantically trying to sort out a solution or having to purchase some new hardware that would have added another couple of thousand dollars to the renovation cost. Fortunately, Lee's hard work delivered a solution that was better than the original plan. Sometimes the things you have to overcome open up better things and new possibilities! This is something we've experienced time and again through this project. We think we find a catastrophic problem, we have a short panic, we then accept the situation, figure out solutions and move forward. In almost every case, this has led to something better than we originally planned. They say (and I've always wondered who w mean when we say "they", but thats a random thought not to bore you with) that adversity/necessity is the mother of invention/innovation (depending on which business/leadership/management training you've attended). We have got better and quicker at problem solving and our solutions are more and more interesting as we learn that we can achieve the slightly wilder dreams!

This building is now able to be a year-round accommodation option for #DawsonCity, one that we hope will live up to guests (and our own) expectations of comfort. Like every building, it will never be the finished article, as the seasons come and go, maintenance, upgrading and updating will be required to ensure that the Dawson Lodge offer remains current and desirable in the local economy. But for now... over to the Dawson Lodge operations team to help make sure that every guest has a comfortable stay in #DawsonCity.

This is still the start of the #DawsonLodge and #YukonSpaces journey, but what a start!

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