What is most lacking in city services?

City hall is responsible for a vast number of services to its citizens, whether it be fighting house fires, repairing leaky water lines or maintaining recreational facilities for residents to enjoy.  Mayoral and city council candidates were asked to identify where they think services are most lacking. Answers will be posted as we receive them.

Niels Konge, city council candidate

Niels Konge: Councillor happy complaints policy at city now in the workIn general doing what we do better and more efficiently.  Specifically I feel we need to expand our water and sewer infrastructure.

Robin Williams, city council candidate

As a newcomer to council and the broad debate over city policy, I don't feel 100% comfortable launching criticism against areas of the city where I may be lacking in knowledge or perspective.  It is my goal as a councillor to represent the needs of families and focus our policies on economic growth.

William Gomes, city council candidate

Transparency, lack of respect, lack of communication with the stakeholders including the general public and failing to address matters that have been put forward by the citizens of Yellowknife.

Bob Stewart, mayoral candidate

The garbage operations and all disposal services need to be seriously revamped.

Cynthia Mufandaedza, city council candidate

I feel a need to constantly review city services based on the changing population and continue to nurture a strong asset management policy.  I cannot speak to any lacking services at this time.

Julian Morse, city council candidate

I think we need to focus more on providing a positive experience for tourists and people navigating the city -- improved way-finding and interpretive signage in more languages. I think we could  improve our transit service to better reflect the needs of residents and increase ridership. I support incrementally expanding the city's trail network over time, such as extending the paved portion of Frame Lake Trail out to the Co-Op. The city should investigate options for increasing frequency of snow removal on sidewalks (and roads too) to increase accessibility. We need to streamline our permitting processes.

Rommel Silverio, city council candidate

I believe in continuous improvement of all existing services. The city should be more proactive in following service level standards so that residents will be more satisfied with the services it provides.

Jerald Sibbeston, mayoral candidate

The most lacking city service is a lack of an ombuds office/city court. Without a place for people to take their complaints, you end up in bad situations because there is no transparency or oversight of the council or bureaucracy. That means trades, business owners, the general public, or even an NGO or First Nation could make a case to the ombuds office.

The only question I have in reply would be: "In 2018, why is there no ombuds office/city court at City Hall?" It is unusual for a city of 20,000 people to have no such thing. I seek to correct this. This will fix every major issue at City Hall over the next decade. A "complaints policy" was released in the middle of an election campaign, and was roundly criticized by all I showed it to. I had a look, and it is not very conducive to you getting your day. It still leaves the SAO in charge of the final say. I feel if I don't win this election, nothing will ever change.

Mark Bogan, city council candidate

While it is the responsibility of a council person to ensure services such as water, roads and sewer, quality of life is an important consideration. We need a city council that is committed to inclusiveness and accessibility for all citizens. We need to hear from the elders, the indigenous community, youth, arts and tourism to hear their concerns and how they would like to see those concerns met.

Edwin Castillo, city council candidate

In general we need to continuously improve on the quality of services being delivered. There needs to be better communication for example on roadwork, events, snow and road cleaning, schedules, etc. on various media to properly inform Yellowknifers and enable them to plan in advance. In addition there needs to be performance measures and targets that residents can expect from the services delivered to them.

Adrian Bell, mayoral candidate

Our services for tourists are lacking, and we should look beyond a bricks-and-mortar visitors centre for the solution. I’m proposing that we establish a Downtown  Ambassador Program in 2019, funded by the new hotel levy. The ambassadors would be mobile visitor service workers, but they would also liaise with our street-involved population, directing them to services like the Street Outreach Services van when needed. And when necessary they would also work with the RCMP to ensure violent behaviour is curbed in our downtown.

John Dalton, city council candidate

Some departments do not have a positive service attitude. City Hall is there to provide service and help to those who need assistance. We should provide courteous, timely and helpful assistance and information so that individuals can achieve their goals if possible. There are departments that can improve in this area.

Stacie Smith, city council candidate

Where do I start with city services? There are many that are exemplary but there are also some that are lacking. At present we are struggling with the cost of living, money is very tight and it should be important for the city to be flexible in times of financial strife towards the use of its public facilities: swimming pool, fieldhouse and the multiplex. Our city pool is outdated and needs to be upgraded. If our city wants to bid on hosting a Canada or Arctic games we need to have facilities in place to support these opportunities. Enforcing loading zone violations, as a small business it can be difficult to transport product when parking is scarce and the loading zone is being monopolized by users that are not loading or unloading, merely using that space to park.

Shauna Morgan, city council candidate

I would like to see our curbside compost pick-up program expanded to condos and other multi-family complexes. There is a pilot program currently underway, and we plan to roll it out to all multi-family buildings in a few years, incorporating lessons learned.

There is much room for improvements to our public transit system, especially to make it more convenient and efficient. The city is looking into innovative models being used in comparably sized cities as there are several million dollars of federal funding currently earmarked for public transit in Yellowknife that could help us complete a major overhaul.

Our Access for All program, which provides free access to recreational facilities and public transit to low-income families, could be extended to include access to recreational programs such as swimming lessons.

Dane Mason, city council candidate

First Call Resolution. The basic idea is to deal with the customer the first time, so you don't double your efforts on a second call, triple them on a third, etc.

One main rule is you only do warm transfers (a warm transfer is when you call over to the next person, make sure they can answer the phone, and relay any pertinent information before transferring the customer and introducing them to the new representative).

This means two things: people don't have to repeat themselves several times on a call, so they're happier and easy to deal with, and they don't get their call dropped into a dead end, and have to call back and waste everyone's time, the city’s and their own, trying to get back to the place they were dropped off at.

Implementing a policy like this at City Hall would be an easy, and free, win for both City Hall and the rest of us.

Rebecca Alty, mayoral candidate

I see strategic planning and implementation as an area for improvement within the City. Our resources (staff and budget) can be used more efficiently or effectively if the current jumping from one fire to the next model is replaced with strategic thinking from Council. For Council to advance key community priorities and deliver effective programs and services at the right service level, we need to focus on improving our strategic planning and governance.

Chris Gillander, city council candidate

Access to information is the public service most lacking in Yellowknife.  I hope to open up transparency to citizens as well as make timelines and statuses for ongoing projects available to the public.

Terry Testart, city council candidate

Bussing is one service requiring improvement. There should be more routes with smaller, more efficient busses. The next, and just as important, is the city’s building permitting and inspection services. Builders constantly say Yellowknife is very difficult city to build in, which has a direct impact on housing costs and availability.

Josh Campbell, city council candidate

I think the city delivers a lot. The only area I see that is lacking or needs improvement is wheelchair accessibility.

I've also received a lot of complaints about dog poop. The third area is a better construction schedule for road maintenance. Franklin Avenue shouldn't shut down every summer. Other streets like Finlayson also need the city's attention.

 

Steve Payne, city council candidate

I think for a city this size we have great services. There are certainly some we could improve on but I don’t feel we are lacking.