Fall colours, elections and money at the dump

NNSL- September 6, 2018

I love the yellow golden colour of the birch leaves in the fall, along with the deep reds of the smaller plants. I just wish they would last a little longer because some years an early snow or a good strong wind ends the glory and beauty of it all a little too quickly.

Our columnist discovered that someone has been throwing money in the garbage. photo courtesy of Walt Humphries
Our columnist discovered that someone has been throwing money in the garbage.
photo courtesy of Walt Humphries

Here is hoping we get some nice fall weather where the temperature dips below freezing at night but warms up during the day, which makes for prime berry picking conditions.

The summer’s fun and games may be over but people should try to enjoy the fall as much as possible.

As the leaves begin to fall, ironically enough, the political signs are going up as we slide into a municipal election. There is a theory in politics, and I assume it has been proven, that the more you get your name and photograph out there, the more votes you get. Hence the war of the signs during election time.

Luckily this time around we are only having the municipal election so there will be fewer people putting up signs this year. In Yellowknife, elections tend to be rather ho-hum events without very much excitement and low voter turnout. This could be turned around by adding a bit of Northern pizzazz to the process by adding some special events.

Firstly, there should be a big rally, free picnic and music festival at city hall. The candidates and their supporters would all show up in costumes or team jerseys. At the shot of a ceremonial cannon, the teams would run, jog, walk or bike around the airport loop blowing horns, whistling or marching to drums and bagpipes.

The teams would arrive back at the park to thunderous applause where they would give their opening campaign speeches in the order of their arrivals. That might get the election started with a little more hoopla than it currently has.

Next, I think there should be an amnesty weekend at the dump during election season. And when I say amnesty I mean complete amnesty where there is no charge for anything. All the candidates would be out there talking to people and thanking them for bringing their own garbage to the dump and not dumping it out in the bush because of the high dump charges. There could be speeches on the importance of the dump to the city, free balloons for the kids and then the candidates and their teams would hold a scavenger hunt in the salvage area.

I have long said the city has been undervaluing the dump and as a result it’s been tossing money in the trash. To illustrate this point, I recently found an album of money at the dump. It was bills from many nations including Canada, the USA, Bermuda, Australia, Korea, Indonesian, France and Germany to name a few. True, they were small denomination bills, but those things add up.

Then there’s the chance someone throws away something truly valuable. Did you know a 1954 Canadian one-dollar bill in mint condition can be worth $7,000 worth of cold hard cash Unfortunately, the album didn’t contain one of those, but money is still money and you would be surprised how much ends up in the garbage.

So, I hope the new mayor and council realize the value of the dump and improve salvaging. Also, since we don’t have a ward system each councillor is supposed to represent all the people everywhere in the city.

To do that, they really need to visit all the neighbourhoods to get to know the needs and wants of the citizens. So, they should have an all candidates forum in old town, new town, down town, up town and maybe even out of town because a lot of the people who live out of town work in town.

Maybe there should be some sort of tax on people who work in the city and use the city’s infrastructure, roads and facilities but live out of town. It would be interesting to know how many people do this, and I am sure it would be an interesting debate. One thing’s for sure, the new mayor and city council will have lots of issues to deal with so let’s hope we have a good bunch of candidates. Also, we should figure out ways to get people involved and out to vote. Maybe those who vote should get free passes to some city facilities including the dump. So enjoy the fall and get out there to pick a few berries.