After a two-year hiatus, Mayor Rebecca Alty resumed a monthly lunch with residents at city hall on Tuesday.
“A lot of our meetings were like (having) a specific subject, so you know, talk about the community energy plan or budget,” Alty said. “So this is the opportunity for residents to raise any questions, concerns, suggestions.”
The mayor said she and city councillors, who can also participate in the lunches, received a lot of useful suggestions in the past and also good information pertaining to territorial governance issues, so it was worth reviving the initiative. Topics like snow removal and parking lot problems also arise.
Alty also noted that the residents who gather for the meal listen to each other’s issues and then have a brainstorming session to figure out solutions, so it doesn’t fall solely on her.
And there is no age limit in order to be heard.
“We had a four-year-old resident who came and he had a concern about the Niven Trail and it was a good thing to know,” said the mayor, “so he came and he said his piece and then he took off for lunch with his dad.”
The lunches are informal and sometimes the flow of conversation takes unexpected turns.
“When you come to a council meeting there’s rules that you’ve got to follow and here is that opportunity to chat and a story might lead to, ‘Oh, what about this,’ or ‘Oh, I didn’t know that,’” she said.
The mayor is planning to have a lunch once a month on every first or the second Tuesday throughout out the year.
The schedule can be found on the City of Yellowknife’s website.