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Here’s what you asked the city to pay for next year

Yellowknife's City Hall
Yellowknife's City Hall. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

What should the City of Yellowknife include in the 2024-25 budget that isn’t already being done?

That’s essentially the question City Hall recently asked residents, and the agenda for a meeting of councillors on Monday sums up the responses.

The budget process is delayed this year because of the summer wildfire crisis, so it’ll be January before we see a draft (and get a sense of the projected tax increase).

First, councillors are considering some of their own wish-list items discussed at earlier meetings, recent asks from three non-profits, and now the new set of requests from the public.

That’s happening against a background of extreme cost pressures. Prices for labour and supplies are rising and residents have already been warned by one councillor, Cat McGurk, that the budget may look “terrifying” when the draft tax increase is announced.



Here’s what residents have asked the city to add.

Old Town water analysis

Two residents sent the same letter to the city asking for a cost-benefit analysis of removing the summer surface water lines in Old Town. (Not sure what that means? Here’s our earlier reporting, which explains it.)

The letter requests a “cost-benefit analysis involving residents that provides a evidence-based process for informing water delivery decisions in neighbourhoods currently served by trucked water delivery and seasonal piped services.”

The area of Yellowknife roughly corresponding to buildings north of the intersection between Franklin Avenue and School Draw Avenue is the only part of the city with trucked water and seasonal piped service. Other areas, like Grace Lake and Con, have year-round trucked service with no access to summer piped water. Most of the city has year-round piped supply.



Yellowknife’s mayor has said a study will take place, with work to begin in early 2024. The study’s cost isn’t clear, nor whether its terms of reference will satisfy those residents calling for a cost-benefit analysis.

Outdoor hockey rink

One resident writes to request “an outdoor hockey rink with permanent boards, a concrete or synthetic base, benches and safety netting.”

They argue that other municipalities have designated outdoor infrastructure like this, and there’s a gap in Yellowknife’s current offerings.

“The creation of a designated outdoor rink with surrounding boards would greatly contribute to the enjoyment of floor hockey in the summer months, as well as its conversion into a more usable outdoor rink in the winter months,” the letter states, estimating the work would cost about $75,000. (There would be ongoing maintenance costs.)

The resident suggests building the outdoor rink either atop a section of the Tommy Forrest ballpark or next to the Somba K’e Park accessible playground.

Better cemetery maintenance

One family writes to express “deepest disappointment and concerns” regarding maintenance of the city’s Lakeview Cemetery.

They say they have been told by workers that budget cuts and a lack of staff are an issue.

“It is not too much to ask that families with loved ones interred there be simply provided with a decent, maintained lawn,” the letter states.



“We’re requesting that the current situation at the cemetery is rectified promptly.”

Fire breaks, bus shelters, downtown

One resident wrote to place three requests.

They asked for the budget to include money for ongoing maintenance of the newly created fire breaks that were hurriedly carved to the west of Yellowknife at the height of the wildfire crisis, alongside money for Firesmarting.

Their second request was for “safe seated bus shelters accessible within reasonable distance for Elders, folks with mobility issues, young children at hospital and medical clinics.” (On that note, another resident sent a one-line request to council for a new pick-up and drop-off point for William McDonald School students on the express bus route.)

The letter’s last request was for extra spending to “ensure safety of your citizens and businesses” downtown.

Racquet club-ski club trail

Former city councillor Adrian Bell wrote to ask if a previously planned trail between the Racquet Club and Yellowknife Ski Club, along Back Bay, will go ahead.

“A portion of land sales was held back for this purpose,” he wrote.

“With the new Firesmarting trail behind Niven Heights, a connection to Old Town would be an amazing community asset.”



Bike lane changes

The last request comes as part of a broader letter from a housing development firm expressing concern about the timeline for permitting of a potential new build.

In the letter, the company asks if “finishing the multi-use path on 52 Avenue made it into the draft budget.” The city’s agenda suggests this is a reference to a path that would run from 44 Street to 49 Street.

The company says raising the bike lanes on a stretch of 52 Avenue was a “key recommendation” of a traffic study it carried out “as a prerequisite of our permit” for a proposed 96-unit apartment building.

Doing so would make the area “passable in winter for cyclists, and vehicles could resume parking alongside,” the letter concludes.