In an interview with Yellowknifer, Garett Cochrane proposes a different approach to electing candidates in the future.

Could you please introduce yourself for anyone who may not know who you are?

“I’m a born and raised 2SLGBTQ+ Metis Yellowknifer who hopes to give back to my community that has given so much to my family and I.”

What do you hope to change if you’re elected?

“My priorities for this council will be sustainable economic development, practical reconciliation, capital projects, livability and governance.

To elaborate on a few, when I talk about sustainable economic development, I’m primarily talking about downtown revitalization, which I think actually needs to be approached in partnership with the GNWT. With the use of trained social workers on the ground de-escalating and intervening and then helping some of our incredibly traumatized homeless population get shelter and, if need be, medical assistance. Also working in tandem with the Municipal Enforcement Division, which I would actually like to get on the ground around 48 and 49 Street, and interacting as peace officers. I don’t believe in expanding any more of the municipal officers’ powers, but I believe that they must enforce the bylaws and keep the peace.

“For practical reconciliation, I’ve been a member of the heritage committee for the past four years. I would like to start to expand beyond our mining heritage and start to try to truly recognize our Indigenous heritage in our municipality, the City of Yellowknife. When it comes down to capital projects I’m referencing keeping the new pool on time and under budget, as well as figuring out a use for the old Ruth Inch Memorial Pool, which I would like to turn into a multi-use area and the new location for the library.

For livability, one of my main objectives is expanding the routes and time of our public transportation.

When it comes to governance, I would like to implement a ward system for next council election.”

Could you share more about the ward system you propose?

“I believe in a city of this size, according to the last census, just a little over 20,000, a ward system would be far more beneficial for our community and our neighborhoods than our current system of electing the top eight (candidates). Not only do I think it would incentivize more variety, and hopefully diversity compared to this election, (it would also create) direct advocacy for the neighborhoods. No one could deny the aspirations of Old Town are completely different from the aspirations of Kam Lake, and especially for a neighborhood such as the downtown core where I live and work — they need a direct advocate.”

Why have you decided to run now?

“Over the last decade, I’ve been able to gather a bunch of experience in the community as a member of the Municipal Heritage Committee, the Makerspace Board, the Long John Jamboree Festival Board, the Yellowknife Pride Board, and I am a justice of the peace in and of the Northwest Territories. I bring a range of experience and a different perspective from others as a 2SLGBTQ+ Metis Yellowknifer.”

What are some of your must haves?

“To take concrete action on being able to address downtown revitalization. I think the last few councils have sadly not prioritized that to a place where any action has been done, and I think many Yellowknifers feel the same.”

Jonathan Gardiner

After a tough break looking for employment in Alberta, I moved to Yellowknife in 2017 and became a multimedia journalist in 2022. I enjoy the networking side of my job, and I also aspire to write my...

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