Collaborating with Partners for Results

During the next term, as Mayor, my focus will continue to be on collaborating with Indigenous, Territorial and Federal governments, along with not-for-profits, residents and businesses, to further the City’s interests in housing, community wellness, reconciliation, climate change, infrastructure, and more.

If I can characterize the foundational principle of my last term and my vision for Yellowknife, “collaboration” would be my word of choice. Because alone, the City of Yellowknife cannot solve all of the problems that residents face – from cost of living, to homelessness, to addictions and more. We need to work with all levels of government – Indigenous, Territorial and Federal – along with not-for-profits, residents and businesses to address these issues. And, together, we are just getting started.

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There is no single solution to reducing homelessness. It is going to take leadership, focus and determination to make progress. In 2017, the City of Yellowknife adopted a 10-year plan to end homelessness. The plan has roles for all levels of government, and as Mayor, I will continue to work with all of our partners and with our citizens to advance this plan.

During my last four years of working for the people of Yellowknife:

  • Advocated for the Spruce Bough: Successfully advocated that the Federal and Territorial government approve the Yellowknife Women’s Society’s funding application to purchase the Arnica Inn and transform it into non-market housing.
  • For youth experiencing homelessness: Because it helps youth get housing early on and back on their feet to lead a long and healthy life, I encouraged the City’s Community Advisory Board on Homelessness to provide $806,691 to Home Base (formerly Side Door) to purchase an 8-unit apartment building so that they can help address youth homelessness. The funding was provided through the Federal Government’s Reaching Home funding to the City of Yellowknife. Beyond the fact that it provides housing to youth in need, I think this project is an important “upstream” project and demonstrates how, as mayor, I constantly seek to attract the right investments from our national funding partners for local solutions.
  • Successfully advocated for Rapid Housing Funding in Yellowknife – received direct funding in 2021 through the “Federal Rapid Housing Initiatives – Cities Stream.”
  • Supported Habitat for Humanity: To tackle the housing issue, as mayor, I understand what we can do as a city and how to activate all of our leverage to get housing build. That is why I was proud to support selling four City lots for $1 each to Habitat for Humanity.
  • When presented with projects that make sense for our city, I vote yes. For example, I voted in favour of housing projects like Avens – A Community for Seniors (102 units for seniors) and the Bartam Apartment (65 market rent units).
  • Overhaul of the Zoning Bylaw: A housing project has many components that can either accelerate or delay a project. That is why I advocated for more diverse housing to be allowed throughout residential areas, and made changes to the downtown zone to encourage more housing – like making the parking requirements in the downtown more flexible. With this change, owners of buildings in the downtown, like the Bellanca building, now have more viable projects and are in the process of developing them.

Moving forward, together:

  • Looking forward to the next term, as mayor, I will work with Council and City staff to update the Development Incentive Bylaw to encourage more housing development and to support non-market housing units.
  • I will continue to bring our priorities to Ottawa and advocate for continued Reaching Home funding (advocate for another five-year agreement and that the funding doubles) and more Rapid Housing Funding.
  • And, because we need to continue to diversify our housing stock run by the non-profit sector, I will continue to lobby the Federal Government to transfer Aspen Apartments (a 36-unit apartment building that they own) to an NGO for non-market housing.

Community Wellness:

Partnerships between all governments and NGO’s are particularly important in promoting, protecting and restoring mental health and effectively addressing addictions. In the upcoming term, as Mayor, I will continue to work with our partners to remove barriers in the City’s control or provide support to ensure programs are a success.

During the last four years of working for the people of Yellowknife:

  • In the spring of 2021, I was proud to support funding for three on-the-land healing programs run by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN) – one for women; one for youth; and one for men.
  • Breakfast and lunch program at the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Camp were provided with funding, with transportation, to encourage residents to start the day off well and potentially, stay during the day.
  • I continued to support programs such as the Street Outreach Program (Safe Ride).

Moving forward, together:

  • Because we need to continue improving programs that people rely on, I will support a review of the Street Outreach program and work with partners – Federal, Territorial, Indigenous, NGO’s and the private sector – to improve it.
  • I will continue to advocate that the Federal government implement Truth & Reconciliation Action #21: We call upon the federal government to provide sustainable funding for existing and new Aboriginal healing centres to address the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual harms caused by residential schools, and to ensure that the funding of healing centres in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories is a priority.
  • I will advocate to have the permanent day shelter and sobering center located on the grounds of the old Northern Frontier Visitors Centre (where the current temporary day shelter is located).


Reconciliation is about building positive, respectful relationships with Indigenous peoples and a welcoming community for all. I’m committed to continuing to learn and grow in my personal journey and encouraging all City residents to do the same.

During my last four years of working for the people of Yellowknife:

  • Reconciliation requires us to work hard, to continuously engage and to take action when we reach a common understanding on the path forward. That is why I am so proud that, as a City, Yellowknife developed the Reconciliation Framework and an annual Action Plan.
  • Renewed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN). The MOU outlines how the two governments commit to working together, building on and modernizing the previous MOU which was implemented in 2002.
  • After 20 years of discussions, the City came to an agreement with the YKDFN on a new proposed boundary between the City of Yellowknife and the YKDFN communities.
  • We established an Elders in Residency Program at the library.
  • I successfully advocated for the GNWT to implement TRC #82 – work began in March 2022: We call upon provincial and territorial governments, in collaboration with Survivors and their organizations, and other parties to the Settlement Agreement, to commission and install a publicly accessible, highly visible, Residential Schools Monument in each capital city to honour Survivors and all the children who were lost to their families and communities.
  • I supported the “Strong People; Strong Communities Murals Project”
  • In 2021 and 2022, changed events on July 1 to respect and honour the Indigenous experience in Canada.
  • We created a YKDFN & City joint economic development strategy.

Moving forward, together:

  • Because the work of reconciliation must be sustained, I will continue annual reconciliation action plans and I will continue to host an annual community gathering to advance reconciliation.
  • I will support plans to build a community arbour. The arbour provides an Indigenous gathering place in Yellowknife to meet, learn, share and celebrate.
  • Because words and place matter, I will support the renaming of lakes to their original names in Yellowknife
  • As mayor, I will continue to work with our partners and conclude the boundary work with the YKDFN, and develop service agreements between the communities, if need be.

Climate Change:

Climate change is being felt across the world, in many different ways. From changing precipitation patterns that reduce the regularity of hydropower (like we felt in Yellowknife in 2015) or flooding that damages food and infrastructure; to melting permafrost that impacts our infrastructure; to seasonably warm temperatures that impact social and cultural activities – the impact is far, wide and serious, particularly in the north.

During my last four years of working for the people of Yellowknife:

  • During my tenure, the City continued implementing the Community Energy Plan and the Solid Waste Management Strategic Plan including:
    • I supported funding district heating at the Water Treatment Plant – saving 357,000L of fuel a year;
    • I supported changes to the solid waste facility – including a new and improved public drop-off area; a compactor which has increased the life-span of one area of the dump from seven years to ten years; and a weigh-in scale (funded and in the process of being complete).
  • Northerners bare some of the worst of the effects of climate change. That is why I supported updating the Zoning Bylaw by including a climate change lens which includes encouraging a more walkable City; density; etc.
  • The City signed on as one of the main partners and funders in the Electric Car Share Co-op.

Moving forward, together:

  • As mayor, I will continue implementing the Corporate and Community Energy Action Plan (2015-25), and update it in 2025.
  • I will work with the City to continue implementing the Solid Waste Management Strategic Plan.
  • I will champion the creation of a district heating framework. While the City has implemented a number of district heating systems for City facilities, there is no comprehensive policy framework that encourages and supports district heating systems throughout the community.
  • I will ask for a review of the Solid Waste Management fees to ensure that the fees are reflecting a user pay model.
  • And, because we need to support local and individual actions, I will ask Council and the City to consider a local improvement program for energy retrofits for residents.

Infrastructure and Funding:

In 2014, the GNWT and the Northwest Territories Association of Communities (NWTAC) completed a review of community funding policies. The review found that communities in the NWT were underfunded by the GNWT collectively by $40 million annually. This is the amount required to sustain basic core services and infrastructure, without any frills. This shortfall makes it difficult for communities to effectively deliver essential services, maintain infrastructure and assets, and be resilient for future challenges.

From 2023-2025, the City has an intensive capital plan to complete. In addition to the new aquatic centre, the fire hall needs an expansion (~$3.2 million); the water submarine line in Great Slave Lake that draws our water and brings it to the water treatment plant needs to be replaced (~$34.5 million); we need a new area (cell) for garbage at the Solid Waste Facility (~$4.5 million); and more. To complete these essential projects, we’ll need to bring our Federal and Territorial partners to the table and secure the grants and funding necessary to accomplish them.

During my last four years of working for the people of Yellowknife:

  • As mayor, I led lobbying efforts to double our Canada-Community Building Fund (formerly Gas Tax) and was successful in doubling our funding in 2019 and 2021. We receive $5.7 million annually, so doubling the fund meant we could continue to invest in core community assets – without increasing taxes to pay for them.
  • I also joined mayors from across the Territory to insist that the Territorial government close the municipal government funding gap. Although the gap remains, from 2020-2022, the GNWT increased our funding with a one-time increase for capital ($2.5M) and an annual increase of $855,000 for water and sewer.
  • Our efforts at the City resulted in securing 75% of the funding for the water submarine line through the Federal Government’s Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation funding (DMAF).
  • I convened partners and arranged a meeting with the Presidents of the Territorial Municipal Associations and the Territorial Minister of Municipal Affairs to discuss the upcoming renewal and consultation on the Canada-Community Building Fund. We’re looking at working together to increase the funding for the north. 

Moving forward, together:

  • Returning as mayor, I will quickly get back to work to make sure Yellowknife can benefit from the big opportunity that is the 10-year renewal of the Canada-Community Building Fund (CCBF). Consultations begin this fall (2022). In the upcoming 10-year renewal, I will work with colleagues across the Territories, including the Territorial Ministers, the Presidents of the Municipal Association, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, to triple our funding in the next renewal. The Government of Canada’s Arctic and Northern Policy Framework acknowledges longstanding inequalities in community infrastructure that continues to disadvantage people, especially Indigenous peoples, in Canada’s Arctic and North, compared to southern Canada. Through the CCBF renewal, the Federal government will be able to work towards their goal of “Strengthened infrastructure that closes gaps with other regions of Canada.”
  • And, municipalities in the territory must have their share of resources to get our citizens the services they need. I will continue to join my colleagues and lobby to close the municipal funding gap with the Territorial government.