Niels Konge is not on city council to make friends.
The two-term councillor, who got into a public spat with the mayor last year in which each accused the other of being a bully, says he “wasn’t elected to be able to work with” his council colleagues.
“There’s certainly some things that you’re willing to negotiate on … and there’s other things where even if you’re the only guy, it’s important to stand your ground,” he said.
“I’m more driven by my moral compass than anything else. What’s right and wrong.”
The contractor and owner of Konge Construction, Konge said he first ran for council six years ago because he wanted to see improvements at the city’s Planning and Lands division.
The city completed a review of the department last summer and Konge wants to stay on council to help usher in changes that would make development in Yellowknife more efficient and a more fruitful source of revenue.
Konge said he brings a “common sense” perspective to City Hall.
“Right now we’re looking at hiring 12 more people (to the municipality), but we have no population growth. I was the only guy who said, ‘hold on, how are we looking at this?’” he said, referring to administration’s recent report on the city’s staffing needs.
“I do provide a lot of input to the budget. I’m not a guy who just rubber-stamps everything.”
Konge is, however, intent on replacing the 30-year-old Ruth Inch Memorial Pool, and currently chairs the Aquatic Centre Advisory Committee.
In Konge’s view, a healthy community has opportunities for youth, decent roads, and is welcoming to people from all cultural backgrounds.
If reelected, Konge will be the longest-serving member of council, yet he is quick to dispel any notion that he’s a career politician.
“I’m not going to be sad for more than four seconds if I don’t get reelected, frankly,” he said.
“I have a wonderful job in Konge Construction. For me, being a councillor is very much about representing the community … I’m just trying to help the community out.”