Candidates running for the Oct. 18 town council election are off to the races as nominations to file for candidacy closed Sept. 20.

Mayor Kandis Jameson went unchallenged and was acclaimed to her position for the next three years.

Seven council positions are open with 10 people in the race.

Incumbents running for reelection include Robert Bouchard, Brian Willows, Jeff Groenewegen, Emily Chambers, Keith Dohey, and Linda Duford.

Kimberly Brockway, Peter Magill, Karen Wall, and Keanan Kipling are also hoping to join council.

Advance polls take place Oct. 5.

Name: Robert Bouchard

Age: 52

Time in Hay River: Born and Raised in Hay River.

Family Status: Not provided

Experience relevant to the job: I was on town council from 1994 to 2005. I was MLA for Hay River North from 2011 to 2015 and I returned to town council three years ago.

I have been involved in many organization in the community including right now where I am on the Golf Course executive. I am assisting with the Chase the Ace lottery fundraiser.

Why your are running or what you are hoping to achieve: I am running again for council because I have a great deal of experience in the municipal budgeting, bylaws, and procedures. I am a Hay River lifer and want the community to succeed. This past council has done a great deal of planning for the future. We have mapped out a strategic plan for the community. The plan includes the many infrastructure needs we have for water treatment, water/sewer line replacement, town hall, road upgrades and land development. The strategic plan includes economic development, governance, culture, environment, and public safety. This plan needs to continue to move forward.

Biggest challenge(s) facing the community: One of the main pressures I see is the lack of funding we receive from the GNWT. The GNWT has been underfunding the community for many years and they continue to cut funding to the town, education, and many important organizations in our community. We need to fight with the other communities to reduce this downloading to the town.

The community is having to deal with all their cutting of programs and services while they spend millions in other areas.

Name: Kimberly Brockway

Age: 41

Time in Hay River: I was born and raised in Hay River as was my mother

Family Status: I have three children that all reside in Hay River. My son Caleb is 19 and works for Northwestel. My twin girls Tyler and Teegan are 15 and they go to Diamond Jenness Secondary School. They are in Grade 10.

Experience relevant to the job: I admittedly have no political background but I have been on numerous boards and executives when my son was younger. I was quite active in minor hockey as a director and as a vice president. I was on the play school executive as a secretary. I was the vice president of the speed skating club for a year and I spent four years on the Hay River Lions Swim Club board. I have two years exerience as a certified swim Canada coach.

I have also been an active member on the Polar Lake recreational committee as the president for the last three years.

Why your are running or what you are hoping to achieve: I am running for council because I would like to see change in our community. I’m hoping a fresh perspective on council will serve this town well.

I have lived here for the past 41 years and I am interested to hear from the citizens what their priorities are so that we can work towards bettering Hay River. I think it’s a great place but we can slways do better.

Biggest challenge(s) facing the community:The biggest challenges facing Hay River in my opinion are fixing our crumbling infrastructure, addressing the social issues with the downtown core and neighborhoods ( ie homelessness and addiction), fixing affordable housing and making the town more appealing for future and present residents for growth.

Name: Brian Willows

Age: Not provided

Family Status: Married to wife Maryann with childre and grandchildren living in Hay River and Yellowknife

Time in Hay River: I have lived in the Northwest Territories for 48 years. The last 18 years I have lived in Hay River until my retirement in 2011.

Experience relevant to the job: Over the years I have worked for the soup kitchen, the Family center and for the last three years I have had the honour and privilege to serve Hay River as a Town Councillor.

It has been a learning experience working with, what in my view, has been one of the most collaborative and focused Town Councils in many years. At times over the last three years it felt as though we lurched from one crisis to the next while still accomplishing many of the goals that we set for ourselves in the development of a strategic plan.

Why your are running or what you are hoping to achieve: The three areas I want to focus on during this term are: 1) Finalization of the electrical franchise. We are all concerned about the cost of living. This is one of the very few opportunities a municipal government has to influence the cost of living and the cost of doing business in Hay River. Recently Council had a presentation from Cheetah Resources, and I asked the representative (David Connelly) if he could name three things that prevented the company from opening a manufacturing facility in Hay River instead of Saskatchewan. Of those three things he indicated the cost of power was one of them. The Town is very close to finalizing this franchise. 2) There is a housing shortage in Hay River. A municipal government is not in the construction business, but it can create the environment for development through partnerships with government and potentially developers. During the last council the zoning was approved to develop Fraser Place with a view to Aspen Heights for a more diverse development plan. 3) During the last Council I was the Chair of the Finance Committee tasked with the oversight and governance of the Town’s O&M and Capital budgets. The Town, under the current administration has done a good job in developing a long term 10-year capital plan and by living within the constraints of their approved O&M budgets.

Biggest challenge(s) facing the community: Although there has been good work and some progress by the current Mayor through the Northwest Territories Association of Communities there continues to be a significant funding gap. This puts an undue strain on the municipalities’ ability to plan and to look for other funding sources to complete projects. More work will need to be done over the next term to close that funding gap by continuing to work with the GNWT to identify the needs of the municipality and to prevent the continued downloading of responsibility onto the municipal government.

The town will need to continue to create partnerships and secure funding from both the GNWT and the federal government to proceed with land development and infrastructure projects.

Over the last two years we have seen rising water levels that has raised the ground water levels significantly on Vale Island. This will require a three-government approach to consider a drainage plan going forward. This will be no small challenge however the Town can certainly have a primary role in facilitating those discussions with a view to developing and implementing a drainage plan to address the concerns of the residents of Vale Island.

Name : Karen Wall

Age : 49

Family Status: Happily married with a 14 year old son and a cat

Time in Hay River: Almost 18 years

Experience: Being a school teacher, a dedicated volunteer, an administrator and board member of several non-profit organizations, an experienced public speaker, experienced in conflict resolution, good organizational skills, a dedicated advocate for our youth, diplomatic skills and a good mediator.

Why I am running : Although it sounds cliché, I just want to be involved in making Hay River an even better place to live. Being active and giving back has always been important to me.

Biggest challenges facing the community: I think that one of the big challenges in Hay River is keeping people in Hay River. Not that I want our population to triple, I just think that it would be nice for small business’ to be able to hire and keep employees, for newcomers to have options for housing and have an abundance of services that make Hay River appealing.

COVID-19 has been longer than most expected and very challenging for many people, so I will advocate for more options for Hay Riverites – more arts and culture, more mental health outlets, more community-based events and more support from the town to non-profit organizations.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. A through and through "County boy" from Prince Edward County, Ont., Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin...

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