What’s your plan for economic development?

The potential economic challenges and future opportunities require focused and deliberate leadership from the mayor’s office.  I will work in collaboration with my fellow elected representatives to deliver an economic development plan to capitalize on future opportunities while preparing for challenges.

What’s one of the biggest challenges that the next Council will face? Preparing for the closure of the next diamond mine. In 5-6 years, the next diamond mine will close. Currently this mine employs close to 400 Yellowknife residents (2017 figure) and the loss of those jobs will have a significant impact on our neighbours and fellow community members as well as the city as a whole.

What are some of the opportunities?

  • Jobs from the Giant Mine Remediation project (between 2021 and 2029 the project will require anywhere from 135 to 312 employees).
  • Potential for new mines in the area and mine services – in the Northwest Territories and the Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut.
  • The potential development by the GNWT of a polytechnic university.
  • Expanding tourism.
  • Growing our food industry – agriculture, fisheries, etc.
  • Strengthening our arts, culture and film industry.

What can the City do to capitalize on these opportunities?

  • Create a new tax incentive program to encourage landlords to make vacant buildings available to cultural organizations and artists.
  • Relaunch the Visitors Center – with a third-party operating the Center and funding coming from the GNWT and the City – and increase our digital presence in relevant markets.
  • Work with the GNWT to increase the reliability of power, ensure sufficient power for mines in the Yellowknife area, and decrease the cost for businesses and residents.
  • Work with local commercial growers and food producers to ensure land is available.
  • Work with the GNWT on a location for the University and student housing. Both should be located downtown.

Creating a solid economic development plan – incorporating opportunities like the above – is required to minimize the impact of our challenges and maximize our opportunities. The economic development strategy process will involve:

  1. Defining what our future economic success would look like.
  2. Completing an Economic Climate Assessment to determine what areas of Yellowknife’s economy are working well and also areas requiring attention.
  3. Determining Economic Sectors that capture key economic activities in Yellowknife (mining, tourism, arts, agriculture, post-secondary, etc.) and Economic Factors (labour, access, transportation, capital, energy, environment and community image & culture) that affect the local economy.
  4. Selecting economic development strategies specific to the different economic sectors and factors, and create an action plan that identifies necessary resources, timelines and responsibilities to implement the preferred option.
  5. Developing an Economic Score Card, and updating on an annual basis to track our progress.

To develop the new plan, I suggest that we create an Economic Advisory Council that includes representatives from various business sectors and all levels of government (Territorial, Federal and Indigenous). The purpose of the Economic Advisory Council will be to provide policy advice and recommendations to City Council to help create the conditions for strong and sustained economic growth.

As Mayor, I will work to ensure the City’s policies, programs and activities create an attractive climate for business and investment.