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.
“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.