A fire that started in the kitchen of Whale Cove’s Tavanni Inns North has left the community without a hotel or restaurant for the near-term future.

“Until we’re granted access, we’re certainly not in any position to speculate about the full extent of the damage, so at this point we consider the hotel to be basically closed indefinitely,” said Duane Wilson, vice-president of stakeholder relations with Arctic Co-operatives Ltd.

The fire began the evening of May 23, and was extinguished without injuries. The Co-op worked with the community to rehome seven guests who were forced to leave from the fire.

Wilson said his staff have not yet been able to access the premises to fully assess the extent of the damage, but based on photos of the scene, he anticipates a staggered return to service.

“We’re pretty sure that the extent of the damage outside of the kitchen and dining room is limited to smoke damage, so in the near term we’re looking at things we can do to remediate the smoke damage and make those rooms habitable for guests,” he said.

“At the same time, we need to have an alternative for food service for them, because anticipating that the return to full service for the restaurant is probably going to be a little bit longer.”

Wilson said he couldn’t speculate about a timeline just yet, but was hopeful that the fact it’s early in the summer sealift season would help Arctic Co-operatives ship any equipment that would be needed.

Wilson said he recognizes that the hotel is an important staple in the community, where it serves as the only hotel and restaurant.

“That’s not lost on us,” he said about the impact the business has in the community.

He called it very important to provide those services in Whale Cove.

“I have no doubt that we will move as quickly as possible to ensure that those services are reinstated,” he said.

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