Now that election campaigning has started, are you ready should one or more of the candidates come knocking at your door?
I like to be prepared so I started writing out a list of questions to ask them. It soon became a 27-page question manifesto covering everything from garbage and litter to dog poop and people drinking in public. I know that sounds a little long but there are a lot of issues to be dealt with. They can take the long list home and e-mail me their answers. Or I did whittle it down to a 10-page double-sided questionnaire they can fill out at the door.
The survey starts with a map of the area and the candidates are asked to draw the city boundaries on it. After all, if they are running for council they should at least know where the city boundaries are.
Next, how many people live in the city by the official count, and how many more live in the city but aren’t counted for several reasons? I believe the city gets a grant per person so we really should know how many people officially and unofficially live here. What about all the people who live outside of town but come into town to work and use city facilities? Why aren’t they counted in some fashion?
Think about it. If city residents are being taxed to pay for the new swimming pool and are asked to pay a fee to use it, shouldn’t people who want to use it but don’t pay taxes pay a higher fee? A non-resident surcharge. I am surprised no one in the city has thought of that because they keep harping about their user-pay system. I’m not sure I like the idea, but I am just throwing it out there.
How many ravens, foxes and squirrels live in the city and what do the candidates plan to do for the wildlife that has taken up residence here and considers it home? Are they going to put in some cross runs for the squirrels because a few of them get mushed every year. Also, what is the candidates’ stand on visiting bears, wolves, coyotes, and wolverines? Should there be a migratory bird tax? Why aren’t beavers, muskrats and porcupines considered as permanent residents? If we do a people count and get a head tax per person, why doesn’t the city get a head tax per critter?
The city had a mantra: “user-pay,” but what about a “non-user pay?” If a person doesn’t pick up their dog’s poop, litter or dumps trash around the city, they should pay a tax, fee or fine for not using our garbage system. Speaking of garbage, why isn’t the city dump being turned into something like a pyramid for viewing and as a tourist attraction or eventually into a ski hill, condo development or environmental university campus? I still think the city dump would be an ideal place to develop a polytechnical campus. It is already a polytechnical sort of place.
I was recently at Pilots’ Monument, a place just about every tourist visits. There’s lots of litter and empty liquor bottles and cans lying around. All the garbage cans were stuffed full and overflowing. Why doesn’t the city hire a person, possibly a student, for one hour a day to clean up around the monument and Old Town? They could do this for downtown and other heavy litter areas. Could be an after-school part-time job.
As one of the founding members of the “Save Our Beautiful Outcrops” consortium, I really have a whole bunch of questions about the wanton destruction of our outcrops in and around Yellowknife. It’s only a matter of time until our city is little more than a collection of buildings on a giant pad of broken blast rock. So sad to see it happen.
That’s just a quick sample. So many questions and so few answers. So, if you are a candidate and you come knocking at my door, be prepared because as I write I just keep coming up with more. Good luck, all.