Bob Stewart says that if he wins the Oct. 15 vote, he would push for a property tax freeze for the duration of his term and build a community centre for the city’s homeless population.

Kilt and Castle owner Bob Stewart has thrown his name into the hat to be the next mayor of Yellowknife.
Sidney Cohen/NNSL photo

The owner of the Kilt and Castle Pub says for years, he has been dissatisfied with how council runs the city.

He will sit idly by no longer. He is making a bid for mayor.

Stewart outlined some platform planks in an interview with Yellowknifer on Thursday.

He said the city could maintain the current tax rate by cutting spending and nixing the plan for a new aquatic centre.

“By axing the swimming pool project, that would give more than enough money towards the community shelter, which is something that benefits all Yellowknifers and all businesses downtown,” he said.

“Everybody has seen the steady decline of downtown… The homeless problem has developed into a homeless crisis.”

As mayor, Stewart’s long-term goal would be to build a “homeless community centre” outside of downtown – a facility large enough to house everyone who needs shelter, as well as organizations that serve people experiencing homelessness and addictions.

“Just have everybody who is getting public funding to try to address the issue all under one roof,” he said.

During the 2015 federal election, Stewart flirted with running for a seat in Parliament, but did not file nomination papers in the end because he was opening up Kilt and Castle.

His plan was to run as the candidate for the Libertarian Party of Canada.

“I consider myself a libertarian in my ideals, but I don’t have much to do with the party at this time,” he said.

The mayoral candidate believes the function of government is to “protect people’s rights but not necessarily get too involved in living their lives for them or making the rules for that.”

Stewart said he has a political science degree from McMaster University and ten years’ experience auditing publicly-funded organizations in NWT and Nunavut.

He also worked as a financial and budget analyst at the GNWT.

After grinding away as a “cog in the wheel of the GNWT,” Stewart decided to become his own boss and open a pub downtown.

Though the mayor’s position is a full-time job, Stewart does not intend to sell his bar if he wins the election.

He says his management duties do not take much time and that he could handle both responsibilities.

In addition to freezing taxes, Stewart wants to “give more amnesty” to people who bring hazardous materials to the dump.

For a long time, said Stewart, the mayor has been whoever won the popularity contest.

But the chair of council, he continued, should be somebody who has “started up a successful downtown business and really, truly understands what the people need and can address it in a meaningful way.

“Not just somebody who’s just going to look good on a poster.”

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