Rob Warburton has announced that he will be running for Yellowknife City Council during the fall election, asserting that the municipality has the authority to make more meaningful changes to benefit residents.
“We’ve fallen into this cycle where the answer to every problem seems to be ‘Well, the GNWT has to do something,’” said Warburton. “There is a lot the GNWT should do, but we’re not as powerless as we make ourselves seem at the city.”
Warburton, who dropped his role as Yk chamber president after taking a “leave of absence,” stated that his “signature ideas” in pursuit of a city council seat include approaches to tackle affordable housing, social issues, as well as having a direct approach to the polytechnic university in that “the next council needs to be aggressive in lobbying the GNWT to get this project done.”
In reference to affordable housing, Warburton emphasized development strategies that the city could utilize.
“With favourable CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) financing terms now available for affordable housing developments, the city should stack additional incentives using permitting, creative land sales and property tax systems to make the proposition even more worthy.”
Warburton also addressed the municipality’s ownership of downtown properties and the use of the available space within the Yellowknife’s core.
”Without the upfront capital to buy and develop those spaces, the city needs to decide if it wants to truly invest in a revitalized downtown by letting that land go to folks who are prepared to do something with it.”
With regards to social issues, Warburton pointed to the need to focus “the resources we have on public safety, encouraging reinvestment in our downtown and creatively supporting non-profits that do that heavy lifting for all of us in providing the services and housing we need.”
Furthermore, he took issue with the development appeals board for “not serving its purpose” in regards to affordable housing and development.
“It is instead being used to stop badly needed housing and public services from being built where it needs to be,” he contended. “We need to advocate and push for both legislative and city policy changes to the local development appeals board to better serve our city’s interests. Our new community plan and zoning bylaws call for using our spaces better and the development appeal process should not be a tool to prevent this community from adapting to its needs.”
Aside from Warburton, Tom McLennan is also vying for a spot on Yellowknife City Council. McLennan will be having a launch event Somba K’e Civic Plaza on Aug. 25 at 5:30 p.m. He told Yellowknifer he didn’t have time to speak about his campaign before that occasion.
The election for mayor and council is set for Monday, Oct. 17. The deadline for nominations is Monday, Sept. 19