Lovell on business
Mayor optimistic on city's future

Cindy MacDougall and Doug Ashbury
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Jan 19/00) - Change in the economy can be good if you can adapt, says Mayor David Lovell.

"The Yk business environment is changing,and adherence to successful past practices is no receipt of future success," Lovell, speaking at a Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce luncheon, said Friday.

"If a business is having a problem, it should check its marketing, check its product, check its service."

Over the past few years, Lovell said the city's economy has moved closer to that of southern locations. It has, over time, become more diversified and less of a gold-based economy, he said.

A slowdown in gold and government have been balanced by diamond developments and growth as a transportation centre, he said. According to Lovell, airport-related activities "employ eight per cent of our workforce and provide 12 per cent of our income."

On isolation, Lovell said the city is not nearly as separated from the rest of the country.

"Internet sales have previously cut into our previously isolated market. Local companies are now in competition with the rest of Canada," he said.

"The Internet is going to tear the heck out of local businesses. The businesses have got to compete and get the products here."

Lovell adds there has been good news but that it has been "buried" by what he called an excessive focus on the negative. He specifically pointed to Yellowknifer newspaper.

"It's just been sensationalist. In the past three or four months, it's a lot less than before," he said.

"A paper either tends to boost a community or melts it. That doesn't mean you ignore scandals."

To push his point, Lovell said the city recently advertised down south and got four respondents. All four, he said, asked if the city was as bad as portrayed by Yellowknifer (they had apparently visited the Northern News Services Web site --

Lovell went on to speculate that if the city was having difficulty hiring because of so-called negative coverage in the newspaper, other businesses might be experiencing the same thing.