At 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“.
Where do you volunteer and why?
I have been a very active community volunteer for over 20 years. It was something important my parents insisted I do when I was younger and I’m thankful for that. Over the last few years I have been active with Rotary Club here in Yellowknife, been a beer slinger at the NWT Heritage Mining Society annual beer barge; played Santa Claus at the festival of trees; helped raise funds for cancer and heart and stroke foundations; have judged the annual science and heritage fair at the local schools; participated in the homelessness forums held by GNWT last year as well as the Labour Forums at the Explorer; Volunteered with Skills NWT as a presenter and chaperone for the annual skills events held in December; have helped when possible with habitat for humanity YK, and many others. You have to give back to your community because your community becomes stronger and closer and healthier.
What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve done in public?
I was heading to a college football game with several friends and was not watching anything I was doing at all as we were chatting and walking. Missed a step off a fairly steep outdoor concrete stairwell and went airborne landing flat on my back and cracking my head on the sidewalk below. This was done in front of many, many people so I had to pretend I meant to do that…yeah right, that worked well. Meanwhile, as my friends picked themselves up off the ground from hysterically laughing and pointing and crying tears of joy at my misfortune they stopped and said you fell so hard we thought you were dead. Nice friends.
How will you communicate with residents, how will that be better than what is available now?
An open door policy is best for municipal government because people do not feel anything is being hidden from them. I will remove the media muzzle that has been imposed on city staff in recent times and let experts from departments talk about the issues that they know the most about. If you cannot trust the resident experts on your own staff then who can you trust? Next, the barriers to communication will be removed as we do not need such high security technology preventing people from talking to department staff. We used to have an open door policy and it has disappeared in the last two years, it will come back again very quickly.
In addition to the basics, we will continue using our electronic sign boards, our web site, and work on our skills with Twitter and Facebook for those who prefer electronic messaging. We can always host open town hall meetings and should for important issues affecting residents and business. Finally, we will work closely with stakeholders affected by major decisions and keep them informed along the way with regular meetings and e-mails as necessary. We live in a global village surely we can communicate better than we have been.
What do you have in your fridge?
I go shopping every two days with my kids to get fresh fruit and veggies. Having recently been diagnosed with allergies to gluten and grains it has affected my daily eating patterns for the better and I actually read my labels now. I prefer fresh to frozen so I have lots of berries, oranges, apples, bananas, and salad items. My kids are cheese addicts so we have an assortment of cheeses, milk, and yogurt. My wife and I made a decision to eat more home cooked meals vs on the fly when our first son was born so we have gotten rid of the microwave years ago and take a few minutes more to make meals as a family.
How do people know you around town?
Some people know me as their financial advisor, a role I have played for 13 years as a professional.
Most people would know me as the “voice of business” in Yellowknife as I have run the YK Chamber of Commerce for the last two years and have been very actively involved in supporting business in YK.
Many students at Aurora College would know me as their instructor as I taught in the business program before deciding to run for Mayor. That was a truly rewarding experience and I’d love to do that again in the future.
There’s surprisingly a high number of Saint Mary’s University graduates here in town who know me from those Halifax days a long time ago.
Some former neighbours of mine from growing up in Newfoundland and Cape Breton who live here now. Yellowknife is a very diverse population and I’m glad I call it home!
Where can you be found most often during the endless days in the summer?
Yellowknife. The summer is excellent here with the long days and the sunshine so I tend to stay close to home spending time with the family at the beach, driving to the YK River or Madelaine Lake for some fishing; near the BBQ and/or Northern fancy Meat Shop; or just generally outdoors enjoying the sun and walking or hiking around. If elected Mayor I will be working with businesses like the Black Knight to ensure we start seeing sidewalk patios for guests and residents to enjoy an outdoor meal in the great weather have. That level of municipal red tape is going to disappear fast.
Describe what the Harbour Plan is in plain English and why it is, or isn’t important.
My understanding of the Harbour Plan is that the City is seeking to assert control over management and development in the Harbour, Back Bay area and from Giant Mine to Negus Point.
This is very important because if this is not planned correctly we may see erosion of landowners rights and a halt to development because of restrictive covenants on designating the land as arts and culture based and heritage district. If the City owns land in old Town and other areas within this framework, then I see no problem making it publicly accessible but I am not in favour of stomping on the rights of private landowners who have plans for their land.
Future paths and nature trails are important but I am not prepared to guarantee budget funding for these extra amenities when we cannot even afford to fix our crumbling roads and sidewalks.
I have concerns this plan will be very restrictive in the same fashion as the Smart Growth Plan and that concerns me and should concern all private property owners in Yellowknife.
What is your favorite winter activity?
My favorite winter activity is taking the kids outdoors for a day of sledding. When we’re half frozen and covered in snow we head to Tim Hortons or Javaroma and get a hot chocolate. Trying to find activities outdoors is important as the winter is long. As a family we enjoyed the Long John Jamboree this past year and we head to Snow King’s Castle every year.
Are you a first generation Yellowknifer?
Yes…my wife and I relocated here from Nova Scotia 7 years ago with a company transfer. We always wanted to see the north as many of our friends and neighbours had been and spoke highly of their time up here.
Have you worked on councils or committee before?
I have never been a councilor or Mayor before. I have been a member of the SmartGrowth Committee for the last two years through the Chamber of Commerce.
For more information on how to follow each of the candidates visit our Election 2012 Page.