Adrian Bell says he will bring a new style of agenda-driven leadership to the mayor’s office if voted in by Yellowknifers this fall.
In an extensive interview broadcast by Cabin Radio, Bell said he would bring a clear political agenda to the role of mayor rather than remain an impartial moderator of meetings.
“That’s what residents expect,” said Bell, a councillor since 2012 and deputy mayor since 2016. “That’s what they assume they’re voting for, that’s what they want and need.”
Bell characterized the mayor’s office of the past two decades as a more passive institution, dedicated to the chairing of meetings and appearances as a community figurehead.
“We’re in the position now where we’ve got some urgency with respect to our future. We need a mayor who is prepared to drive an agenda,” he said.
Bell also suggested he would investigate cutting back the role of Yellowknife’s municipal enforcement officers if elected.
“I would start to question whether or not we should even be in the policing business,” he said. “A lot of communities have a very different model.
“[Yellowknife municipal enforcement takes on] bylaw functions with parking enforcement and animal control, then adding motor vehicle and criminal code enforcement. That is usually left to the RCMP or to a municipal police force.
“Leaving it to the RCMP is something I think should be looked at. Can a small City Hall like ours properly train, in an ongoing manner, a group of people expected to do this work? It may be an unrealistic approach for us to take this on.”
Bell’s initial announcement of his run for mayor, on Wednesday, listed accountability, a reduced cost of living, and economic diversification as key planks in his platform for the October election.
His only declared opponent to date is fellow city councillor Rebecca Alty, who was the first to announce her candidacy late last month. Alty, too, is building her platform around increased accountability at City Hall.
Bell said that should mean a new appeals process so residents can challenge decisions they think are wrong, and restrictions on the creation of new positions at the municipality.
“City Hall seems to find a way to keep growing without commensurate growth in population and we’ve got to stop doing that,” he said.
“There’s a lot that can be done. We are a great city but I don’t think we’re achieving our potential.”
No candidacy is official until the election process begins at the end of August. The election itself will take place in mid-October.