OLIP in Yellowknife: Meeting with Mark Heyck, the 14th Mayor of Yellowknife

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All our meetings Yellowknife enlightened us to issues or themes present in the territorial level. We were excited to explore municipal governance and to that end, we met with Mayor Heyck, the 14th mayor of Yellowknife.

Mayor Heyck walked us through his journey which led him to run for public office. Completing his studies in McGill University, he developed an interest in politics and sustainability. When he returned to Yellowknife, he ran for city council in order to create positive change for Yellowknife and the sustainability issues the city was facing. His love for municipal politics stems from the ability to create change in a relatively short period of time. We were very surprised to learn that Yellowknife operates using an “at-large” system which means that the people of Yellowknife vote for all the councillors, as opposed to a “ward” system where voters in the ward vote for their respective councillor. Mayor Heyck argued that positive aspect of the large system allows councillors to plan and make decisions for the city as a whole.

Mayor Heyck walked us through some of his accomplishments as Mayor. This includes (but is not limited to): overseeing the adoption of Yellowknife’s 10-year plan to end homelessness, economic development and tourism strategies and advocacy bringing issues forward to the Territorial and federal levels. Mayor Heyck was very proud of how Yellowknife was recently awarded the 2018 Sustainable Communities Award in the energy category from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities — recognizing the wood pellet heating heating system Yellowknife implemented.

After our meeting, we were surprised to learn Mayor Heyck announcing he will not seek re-election. Thank you for meeting with us Mayor Heyck and we wish you the best of luck with what comes next!

Fun Fact: Did you know one of Yellowknife’s sister cities is The Sakha (Yakutia) Republic, a Russian port city in Eastern Sibera?