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Election 2012 Questions: Mark Heyck

Mark HeyckAt YkOnline.ca, we’re trying to keep you informed and connected to the people who would like to have a hand in the building and operation of Yellowknife but in a light-hearted way. We sent around the following questions to each of the candidates for mayor and council asking for a written or video response. As each candidate responds we’ll post their answers. You can follow all the 2012 Municipal Election posts with the tag “yzfelec2012“.

Mark Heyck

Where do you volunteer and why?

Since returning to Yellowknife following university, I volunteered as a Board Member for Folk on the Rocks, as a Regional Vice-President with the Union of Northern Workers and last year I ended an 11 year term as President of the Western Arctic NDP Riding Association. I also serve on the Green Municipal Fund Council of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, which provides low interest loans to Canadian communities for sustainable projects. I volunteer my web designing skills when possible – I used to assist the Status of Women’s Council of the NWT with their website and I also re-designed the Yellowknife Playschool Association’s website when my kids were there.

Why do I volunteer? For many reasons. Volunteering is an excellent way to meet new people who you may not normally encounter in your day-to-day routine. Yellowknife is a volunteer-rich community and there are many sectors of our community who benefit when we help one another out. It’s what makes Yellowknife such a great community to live in.

What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve done in public?

When I first met my partner 16 years ago, for some reason I thought it would be cool to juggle eggs at a party I was hosting, and as you can imagine my juggling act met a messy ending. I must have impressed her though, as she moved up to Yellowknife with me following university.

How will you communicate with residents, how will that be better than what is available now?

In recent years, I’ve embraced social media and have hosted a Facebook page as a City Councillor and a Twitter account as well. I would continue using these methods of communication if elected Mayor. The beauty of politics in Yellowknife is that I see constituents every single day. Politics is a 24/7 job. Whether it be stopping to talk to a neighbour while raking my lawn, chatting with parents in the stands at soccer practice in the fieldhouse or responding to concerns raised through e-mail, I consider myself an open, approachable and communicative City Councillor.

One of my proposals, if elected Mayor, is to approach the Yellowknife MLAs to see if they would be interested in hosting joint constituency meetings. This approach would bring Mayor and council into Yellowknife neighbourhoods in partnership with our territorial counterparts to hear from residents directly about the issues that impact them where they live.

What do you have in your fridge?

What don’t we have in our fridge? My partner loves to grocery shop so there is always good representation from all four food groups. Our fridge is also a glorified condiment holder. We have about six different kinds of mustard. There’s always ketchup and Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. Usually there’s bacon as well because my son’s all-time favourite dish is Penne Arrabiata.

How do people know you around town?

I grew up in Yellowknife in the Con Mine area, so many people know me through parents and sisters, as a classmate at JH Sissons or at William MacDonald Schools. Many of the people I grew up with still reside in Yellowknife. It’s wonderful that so many of us have chosen to raise our families here. I really enjoy campaigning and knocking on people’s doors as you never know what connection you’re going to have with the person who answers the door. Could be that they were my babysitter at one point, a classmate of one of my sisters, or a parent I see in the parking lot at school every morning when dropping off our kids. I’ve been on City Council for nine years and as Deputy Mayor for six, so people will know me from my political role as well.

Where can you be found most often during the endless days in the summer?

Mowing the lawn in my backyard. I put my ipod on and listen to my favourite music or podcasts. My partner thinks I’m obsessive about the back lawn. The grass grows like crazy back there and so you have to stay on top of it.

Our family also likes to have regular hot dog roasts out at Pontoon Lake. The drive out on the Ingraham Trail is unbelievably beautiful and always reminds me of how fortunate we are to live in the North. Plus, nothing beats coming home smelling of campfire.

Describe what the Harbour Plan is in plain english and why it is, or isn’t important.

The Harbour Plan was initiated to achieve two things: To clear up jurisdictional issues between different orders of government as they relate to the waterfront, and to improve public access to the waterfront. As a community, we have an incredibly valuable natural asset in our waterfront, but it has not been used to its full potential for the enjoyment of residents and visitors; the Harbour Plan aims to make better use of the waterfront through long-range planning and investing in public amenities.

Have you worked with any of the other councilor candidates before?

I have worked with the four incumbent councillors for many years and have met with many of the non-incumbents running to discuss municipal issues. I’ve known Amanda Mallon since I was a little kid. She taught at YK 1 Schools with both my mother and my sister. Fellow Mayoral candidate Paul Falvo and I have been council colleagues for the past six years.

What is your favourite winter activity?

Watching the northern lights. Taking my kids tobogganing. Chopping wood for our woodstove.

For more information on how to follow each of the candidates visit our Election 2012 Page.