Steve Payne, an incumbent city councillor, wants to re-analyze city priorities in the post-election budget and revisit plans to make land available for purchase in Kam Lake.

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

“I’ve been a city councillor for two terms and have been living in Yellowknife for 27 years. I moved here from Newfoundland. We came (to Yellowknife) for six months, and we’ve been here ever since. The people that we met here, kept us here. The kindness that we were shown when we first moved here is the reason why I have the desire to serve the public. I don’t get anything personally from this job. In fact, it’s been, at times, pretty tough. You lose friends. You don’t have the privilege of keeping everybody happy… but then it’s been pretty rewarding as well.”

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

“During this campaign, and the forums that we’ve had so far, housing has been pretty much topping the list of the concerns that the public has. I know that we cancelled phase two and phase three of the Grace Lake South development. I’d like to revisit that. I’d like to maybe open that back up.

“I’d like to have a renewed focus on acquiring land from the GNWT to start doing more developments. When it comes to apartments, I think in the next couple of years, our housing crisis will be helped with the amount of units coming online. We’re probably looking at over 400 units that are going to be (made available.)“ Payne said. “We have a significant homeless population in Yellowknife, and I’d like to see about accessing different funding to be able to put more federal dollars into addressing the situation, not covering it up.’

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What are some of your must haves?

“Housing, free up land, and land for our business segment of our population. (Council) had talked about doing an expansion in Kam Lake, and we put a hold on it. I’d like to revisit that for sure.

“My must haves is a fair budget. I know that we’re looking at another increase right now, and I think that we need to, as a city, get back to basics, so to speak. We need, first and foremost, to look at the fundamental purpose of a city and what services we provide fundamentally. Then, if there’s extra money, we go into different things. I think we need to start taking care of the core business of a city first.”

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Why was the development of land in Kam Lake put on hold?

I know that there was some public opposition to it. It’s gone back to the drawing board to (identify) some different options. We have an angle right now, but it’s for big business. We need that land for the medium-sized business. That’s what I’d like to see: I’d like to see land development, residential and commercial development. There’s not a single family dwelling property for sale on the city website. None.

“There’s different types of housing that we need as well. It’s not like everybody needs to have a 6,000-square-foot piece of property. There’s probably a growing segment of our population that would love to have an 800-square-foot home on a 3,000-square-foot property. So maybe we can look at doing different developments.”

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Are there any other comments that you would like to add?

“I’m excited for this election. It looks like we got a lot of good people running. Right now, I could not tell you who’s going to get voted in. I really don’t know. I’m hoping that I will, but I don’t even know that. I’m wishing everybody all the best in this upcoming election.”

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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