Rebecca Alty will be the next mayor of Yellowknife.
Alty, a born-and-raised Yellowknifer and councillor for the past six years, defeated three rivals to succeed the outgoing Mark Heyck in the role.
“I’m just in shock. It’s a lot of hard work campaigning, so it’s always appreciated when it pays off,” Alty told Cabin Radio from her campaign party. She defeated Adrian Bell by 728 votes, official results posted just before 2am on Tuesday showed.
“Yellowknifers really want somebody who’s going to work well and bring all the partners to the table,” she said. “If we’re not working together, we’re not going to work at all.”
Her closest challenger, fellow city councillor Bell, told Cabin Radio: “Seeing the results, the people have spoken. I’ve called Rebecca Alty to congratulate her on a campaign well-run.”
Official results published by the City of Yellowknife showed Alty received 2,938 votes compared to Bell’s 2,210. Bob Stewart received 102 votes; Jerald Sibbeston placed fourth with 93.
Meanwhile, councillors and the mayor will move from three-year to four-year terms after voters passed a bylaw enacting the change, meaning the next municipal election will be in 2022.
Who’s on city council?
Shauna Morgan, Julian Morse, Robin Williams, Steve Payne, Stacie Smith, Niels Konge, Cynthia Mufandaedza, and Rommel Silverio were elected as city councillors.
Morgan returned to her seat on council in style, receiving 3,398 votes – 503 more votes than for any other council candidate.
“I want to thank Yellowknifers for coming out to vote, for paying attention,” said Morgan. “It was a pretty strong turnout and it definitely feels like council has been given a strong mandate to continue strengthening this community.
“People see the need for a long-term view based on strong values of respect, equity, sustainability. So that is very encouraging.
“I’m very excited to have Rebecca as our new mayor. I think we will be able to accomplish a lot and have a strong relationship between council and administration.”
Morse (2,895 votes), Payne (2,671), and Konge (2,459) were also re-elected. Williams (2,845) received the most votes of any newcomer to earn a place on council, where he will be joined by fellow rookies Mufandaedza (2,160) and Smith (2,517) – who is believed to be Yellowknife’s first Indigenous councillor in two decades.
“It is remarkable and notable that we have a more diverse council than we have seen in the past,” said Morgan. “This is a statement that all of our residents are valued and belong.”
Silverio was the last candidate to sew up a council seat, his 2,027 votes ensuring re-election for a second term.
Edwin Castillo and Chris Gillander narrowly missed out, ahead of Dane Mason.
“It looks like a really good group,” said teacher and barbershop owner Payne, who will return for a second term.
“Rebecca is a fantastic person and I’m looking forward to working with her,” he said. “She’s been a great comrade on council.
“My support was behind Adrian and I feel a little heartbroken that he didn’t get in, but they fought a good fight. It was a really good campaign.”
‘A mayor I love’
“It’s going to be the first time in six years that I’ve got a mayor I absolutely love,” said Konge – who famously fell out with Heyck, even questioning his “moral compass” during this election campaign – as he prepared to return for a third term on council.
Heyck did not stand for re-election as mayor, instead moving to become the executive director of non-profit the Arctic Energy Alliance.
“I feel Rebecca is the best choice. I’m really, really excited,” Konge continued. “We can work really hard on keeping Yellowknife a great place.
“We can work on affordability, for sure, and accessibility – specifically for youth, that’s near to my heart. With Rebecca at the helm, we can get a lot of those things done.”
Konge said losing Bell from municipal politics was “a loss to the City.”
“Adrian was a really good and engaged councillor,” he said. “Yellowknife loses a little bit tonight with one of them out of politics.
“I think he’s a smart guy. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him back in a year for the territorial election.”