Rebecca Alty in July 2022. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
Rebecca Alty is set to be acclaimed to a second term as Yellowknife’s mayor after nobody ran against her in this fall’s election.
Nominations closed at 3pm on Monday with Alty the only name on the ballot for mayor. Sixteen people are running for eight positions on Yellowknife’s city council. (Fifteen were initially announced. The city later added a 16th.)
Alty replaced Mark Heyck as mayor in 2018, defeating fellow city councillor Adrian Bell by 2,938 votes to 2,210 in that year’s municipal election after Heyck stepped down. She had already served as a councillor for six years.
She was the first person to announce her candidacy in 2018’s election – doing so as early as April that year – and was similarly fast out of the blocks this year, stating in July that she would seek a second term.
On a website created for a campaign in which she will no longer need to participate, Alty said she stood for “strong leadership that balances the needs of Yellowknife today and in the future.”
In her platform, she states the city needs to continue improving its strategic planning and governance; must focus on collaboration with other governments, not-for-profits, residents and businesses, including Indigenous governments and partners; and must strengthen its economy, choosing to highlight mine remediation, tourism and post-secondary education.
“It’s a bit of a relief off my chest and a big honour,” Alty said when reached by phone on Monday.
“I still plan on going door to door, I think it’s an important part of the whole process. But it’s a weight off the shoulders.”
While she praised the number of candidates running for council, Alty acknowledged that the vast majority of the 15 names on the ballot next month will be male.
“I tried to talk to a lot of women over the past winter but I know it’s tough to balance, especially when people have young families,” she said, looking to explain the imbalance on the ballot.
“A lot of people I talked to were like, ‘Not this time but next time.’
“Hopefully, at the next election we’ll see more female candidates on the ballot. But I also want to take some time over the next term to see if there are ways we can make it more family-friendly. Hybrid meetings, for example, might be an option, and I want to see what else we can do.”
Alongside her platform’s commitments, Alty said housing would continue to be a pressing issue over the four-year term ahead once she is formally acclaimed later this week.
“I think we did a lot of work by changing our zoning bylaw this time,” she said.
“Inflation is a challenge for residents as well as having an impact on the city,” Alty continued. “We need to work on our service levels and see what services people want, at what level, and what they are willing to pay for. What areas do we need to improve and where could we scale back?”
If she serves a full term, Alty will become Yellowknife’s third longest-serving mayor behind Gordon Van Tighem, who held the position from 2000 until 2012, and Fred Henne, mayor for two periods in the 1960s and 1970s.