Cat McGurk, a red seal carpenter who is vying for a seat on city council, suggests grants be given to residents who want to “take matters in their own hands” to improve the community.

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

“I am a red seal carpenter, born and raised here in Yellowknife. I am the current acting executive director for Makerspace YK and I just really love my community. Generally speaking, everything I do is based around making it better or working for it.

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

“We have a ton of strategies that we’ve paid millions of dollars for that sit sort of unused and it would be really wonderful if we could actually take advantage of those things. (We should) build a bit more of an efficient system within city government by actually going through with those strategies.

“Generally speaking, I think that we need to improve communication between staff and council, and between council and the public, and build a bit more of a rapport. Things (could be) less contentious if we had good relationships. That’s a really important thing to me… (creating) ways to build engagement within the community is a really big deal to me.

“Another thing that I really want to do is issue community improvement grants, which allow residents to take matters into their own hands, but not have to take on the financial responsibility of doing something.

“Say you want to build a new set of stairs on a really steep, treacherous hill, on a favorite walking trail. You can just go and buy the supplies, ask the city for the money to buy the supplies, and (build) it yourself. That will allow people to actually engage with our community and not have to wait on government bureaucracy, or even municipal bureaucracy, which can take eons.”

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Why have you chosen to run now?

“I decided to run because people asked me to. It’s actually a very inconvenient time for me to be running. I just completed an absurdly large application for funding to the federal government, which has been ongoing the entire time that I’ve been campaigning.

“I was debating not running, because I simply didn’t think I had time. The people in my life who wanted me to do it… made it really clear that it was important. I am a very duty bound person, especially to this community, so I decided that I was going to add another thing to my plate.”

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What are some of your must haves?

“I’ve mentioned this earlier, but I really do think we have to have the city implement their strategies. There’s a few that I’m especially fond of. I really, really care about the agricultural strategy, and I really care about the solid waste management strategy. It’s very important for us to build Northern resilience, so we need to look at how our food is grown and where our garbage goes.”

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

“(What I am looking for when) voting for other people is the ability to communicate with each other and to work with each other, and especially to accept what we do and don’t know, and that we can be wrong. (The willingness) to change and to be open to change — that’s the baseline for anything is that, regardless of what sort of commitments I could ever hope to make, that is one that can never change; the commitment to acknowledge my own ignorance and to be dedicated to changing my mind, growing, learning, and always trying to have those relationships with my fellow council members.

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McGurk reminds residents that it is too late to mail in ballots. Residents should bring ballots in-person to city hall, the Tree of Peace Friendship Centre or the Multiplex.

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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