Byelection '99

NNSL (Oct 15/99) - Voters in the city go to the polls Wednesday to select which two candidates in a field of seven will fill a seats left vacant by council resignations.

In the interest of helping voters understand where each contender stands on the issues, Yellowknifer posed five questions, limiting each candidate to thirty words per answer.

  1. Should property taxes be reduced?
  2. What services or programs currently provided by the city should be cut or reduced?
  3. What area of service or programming should the city increase?
  4. Should the city build a twin pad arena, a single arena or no arena?
  5. Should smoking be banned in restaurants, dining lounges, and clubs such as the Racquet Club, Elks and Legion. If so, when?

Six of the seven candidates responded by the Oct. 8 deadline.

Bruce Coomber

1. If a budget with a surplus can be passed, then that would enable a tax reduction. Otherwise the first tax increase will have to remain, for now.

2. The city's capital spending requires microscopic review and reduction, especially the paving of alleys.

3. With the need for fiscal foresight and rational restraint, the only possible area for increase might be in that of economic development.

4. No arena at this point in time.

5. Smoking should be banned wherever children and youth could be exposed to second- hand smoke. If establishments wish to identify themselves as adult only, then smoking could be allowed. Immediately.

John Dalton

1. I believe we need a combination; both taxes and levies should be reduced. Both will benefit different sectors and will have different effects on business and the homeowner.

2. Before I look at these areas I would look at paving, equipment replacement, capital projects, recruitment and travel and where we use our block funding for the next few years.

3. If we are to grow we must look at and develop an economic plan that would attract new businesses and people and we have to stop hurting the businesses we have.

4. What can we afford and what priority is it today? Things have changed. Can we partner with the private sector? I would look at it, but some information has never been made public. We need to see it.

5. Council has no right imposing this on private clubs. What they have passed is a slow death for some businesses. Since they can't tell us how they plan to enforce it, they have no right to pass it.

Rachel Lawless

1. Yes. If elected to office, I will demand a review of the cost of city expenditures. Any savings should then be passed on to the ratepayer through tax or fee reductions.

2. A thorough review of the city's expenditures will identify areas where the city can save money without a reduction in services.

3. Programming may not have to be increased. A stronger emphasis should be placed on economic development and encouraging businesses to stay in Yellowknife.

4. A declining population and struggling economy means now is not the right time to build an arena. The city should consider building a new facility when it is more appropriate.

5. The city of Yellowknife has passed a no smoking bylaw. The GNWT is developing one. Across Canada there is vigorous debate. City council should be concentrating its efforts in other areas.

Dave McCann

1. Yes, take them to the pre-July '99 level, and then lower them again to reduce our cost-of-living -- making us more competitive in the eyes of residents, business and visitors.

2. Total shut-downs should be avoided, but all services should be checked for performance, and adjustments made to make them affordable. Least effective services should be the first to be cut.

3. The emphasis should be on finding savings in the way services are delivered. New services or programs must be at least as effective as existing ones to be considered.

4. To be prudent in today's economic climate, we should first study replacing the Gerry Murphy arena with a modest facility. Any more than that should probably have to wait.

5. Smoking is dangerous and should be discouraged. But let restaurant/bar operators and their customers also influence where and when. People are increasingly avoiding contact as five smoke-free establishments demonstrate.

Fraser Weir

1. Yes. Most certainly.

2. Bylaw enforcement, reduced number of parking meters and traffic lights, upload building code inspection services to banks and insurance companies, deregulate taxi cab licensing/minimum fares and cut subsidies to empty bus service

3. Increase non-metered parking spaces for downtown, streamline intersection signage for better traffic flow, increase public access to Great Slave Lake along Miramar and Giant waterfronts.

4. Not before municipal finances are in order; expenditures match revenues.

5. Let owners/proprietors and customers/members work out their optimal smoking/non-smoking arrangements.

Alan Woytuik

1. The city should make tax reduction a priority during the next budget process. Cuts should be made in spending to allow the latest tax hike to be rolled back.

2. All areas should be evaluated to ensure we are getting the most value for our dollars. Some programs may be under utilized and could be cut while others could be made more efficient.

3. Current services and programs are at an adequate level given the present financial situation. I believe expansion at this time would not be prudent, however, a replacement arena is required.

4. The city should build a modest single sheet arena now with the capability of future expansion. Block funding should continue to be allocated to a reserve fund so borrowing would not be required for this expansion.

5. The new bylaw regarding this issue has already been passed. The Racquet Club, Elks and Legion are private clubs and as such should be allowed some flexibility to cater to the demands of their clientele.