A file image of Rebecca Alty in Cabin Radio's Studio One. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
Rebecca Alty wants to be the next mayor of Yellowknife.
Alty, a city councillor for the past six years, is taking unpaid leave from her job – as Diavik diamond mine’s manager of communities and external relations – to pursue the position.
She is the first person to announce their candidacy ahead of this fall’s election. Her bid will remain unofficial until nominations open on August 31, with the election taking place on October 15.
Alty put public accountability at the heart of her message as she revealed her plan s on Cabin Radio, saying she would do things “slightly differently” than incumbent Mark Heyck if she were elected mayor. Heyck has already announced he is stepping down this year.
“I’m very results-oriented,” said Alty. “I like to have goals, objectives, action plans, and tracking against them. I think that’s what I bring to the table that would be a little different than currently.”
Taking inspiration from her work at the diamond mine, Alty said: “In council chambers, as much as I love the beautiful photos, we should have our priorities and show how we’re tracking on it – red because we’re not currently doing any work in this regard, green because we’re advancing that, these are the actions we’re taking to advance this priority.
“Both in council chambers and on the City’s website, more of a report card or dashboard system.”
‘Listening to folks’
Alty said her full platform would be fleshed out over the coming months. In the meantime, she added, residents should look to her work on a 10-year plan to end homelessness, and her efforts scrutinizing and evaluating the City’s budget, as reasons to elect her.
“I’m not a hardline, aggressive, throw-everybody-in-jail style. I’d be more about the programs and supports the City has power to implement that could be helpful,” said Alty.
“Getting out and chatting with people, as mayor, is the key. Not coming to every issue with the solution but listening to folks to determine what the problem is, make sure we look at it holistically, listen to different perspectives, then be decisive and get on with implementing.”
Asked for comment on allegations of workplace harassment at City Hall and an independent inquiry due to begin shortly, Alty expressed confidence in the inquiry and said she would “wait for the final report [to] identify whether processes and policy were followed and any gaps.”
Alty was the most popular candidate for city council in the 2015 municipal election, receiving 3,837 votes – 264 more than the second-placed candidate, Adrian Bell.
Heyck will end his tenure as mayor after two terms totalling six years, making his the joint second-longest period served as mayor alongside Pat McMahon (1988-1994) and David Lovell (1994-2000). Only Gord Van Tighem (2000-2012), at 12 years, served longer.