He officially launched his bid for council on Thursday, Aug. 25 at Somba K’e Civic Plaza. The following day, he released a statement outlining the main points of his campaign: opposition to the recent residential property tax hike; addressing the city’s housing crisis; climate change and food sustainability; infrastructure; and reconciliation with the city’s Indigenous population.
“I’ve built a life here and I’m staying. I want all of my friends to stay, too,” says McLennan, a Yellowknife resident of six years. “This is about putting my money where my mouth is and trying to make a difference so that can happen… I’ve seen too many give up on (Yellowknife) because they couldn’t afford it, or couldn’t see themselves here for the long-term.”
McLennan says the municipal property tax hike in May, which saw residential property taxes rise by about nine per cent, was another major motivator. “We’ve got a property tax hike pushing double digits alongside sky-high inflation the year before assessments, which will inevitably increase taxes more,” he says. “Waiting and making changes at the appropriate time would have accomplished the same goals without shocking residents.”
With regards to housing, McLennan praises the city’s new zoning bylaw, adopted in March. He says it will open the door to more affordable housing.
“The city must use this new tool to incentivize the lower-cost, well-built housing we need,” he says.
McLennan also wants Yellowknife to become more independent in producing its own food.
“We need to expand our capacity to grow food here and reduce our reliance on southern imports,” he says.
In the spirit of promoting reconciliation with Yellowknife’s Indigenous community, McLennan says he would like to strengthen the city’s relationship with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, and “use local government as a tool to advance reconciliation.”
In addition to his job as a pilot, McLennan is an amateur photographer and carpenter.
The municipal election takes place on Monday, Oct. 17.