Yellowknife will have a new mayor in October this year after Mark Heyck announced he will not run for re-election.

Heyck first became a councillor in 2003 and was elected mayor in 2012. In a statement, he said more time with his children was his main reason for stepping back.

“I’ve been an elected official their entire lives. I am stepping back from politics and I’m eager to spend more time with my family over the next few years,” Heyck wrote.

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“I love Yellowknife with all my heart and will continue to contribute to its wellbeing and vitality. I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that come with a change in life’s path.”

In his message to residents, Heyck lists 16 areas in which he felt he helped to drive accomplishments – among them work on energy options like biomass, the preservation of Tin Can Hill, the construction of the Somba K’e Civic Plaza, and the development of a 10-year plan to end homelessness in the city.

Last year, the mayor ended up in a tit-for-tat exchange of conduct complaints against councillor Niels Konge, while City administrators have recently faced questions over their handling of misconduct allegations against a senior member of staff midway through his time in office.

Responding to his message online, several residents drew a connection between those allegations and Heyck’s announcement. Others took time to praise Heyck for his work while in office.

“Yellowknife moved from a mining town to a refined city with much higher standards of living under your guidance and leadership,” wrote Cory Vanthuyne, a former councillor turned Yellowknife MLA.

Indigenous women’s advocate Sandra Lockhart wrote, “I am and will always be a stronger supporter of your leadership.” Former Fort Smith mayor Brad Brake added, “You did a great job.”

The next municipal election, in which a new mayor and eight councillors will be elected to three-year terms in office, takes place on October 15 this year.