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Council briefs
Learning begins for new councillors

Charlotte Hilling
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, November 4, 2009

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - The task of familiarizing themselves with their new roles began for newly elected councillors Amanda Mallon and Cory Vanthuyne, at the swearing in of city council on Monday.

"It was really exciting. I was surprised at how good it felt," Mallon said of the ceremony. "When I sat down I thought, yup, this is a good place to be and I don't mind being here for the next three years."

Her first order of business will be to learn how everything operates. "First on the agenda will be a huge learning curve," she said.

"Today is a very special day for me," said Vanthuyne, echoing Mallon's enthusiasm for the new job. "It has been a case of months, even years, of me having in my mind that someday I wanted to contribute at this level.

"Today is when you know that starting tomorrow, you're officially at work."

Coun. Bob Brooks, first elected in 1991 and now into his sixth term, said he was optimistic about the new council, based on the work of the previous one.

"Some of the previous councils that I've been on basically did not work together very well," he said. "However, the last council I was just on, I would have to say that that group tried to work together more than any other, to try and get a consensus."

Green funds for Northland upgrades

Coun. Brooks wants to attend a sustainable communities trade show in Ottawa next year to seek funding for the Northland Trailer Court upgrades.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is holding its annual Sustainable Communities Conference and Trade Show in February, 2010.

"There is a section here with regard to the FCM green funds," said Brooks. "So I'm very interested to see what sorts of monies might be available through the green funds, for the Northlands infrastructure project."

Brooks wants to see if there is any other funding that might be available while on the trip.

He estimated the cost of the trip would be about $4,500.

Senior voters to go mobile

Following the difficulty some senior citizens had voting in the last municipal election after some were turned away at Northern United Place, city council agreed to institute advance and mobile voting for the next elections in 2012.

Brooks brought up the issue at a Priorities, Policies and Budget Committee meeting on Monday, and asked city clerk Debbie Gillard if such a move was possible.

"The current act does provide for a mobile voting station," said Gillard.

"So based on what I just heard you say, that's what we'll do next election unless you tell us different, is that correct?" Brooks responded.

"If that council's direction, yes," said Gillard.

Mayor Gord Van Tighem's question, "anyone who's against seniors voting, raise your hand," was received with laughs, and council agreed to draft a motion to create mobile voting stations for seniors or people physically unable to attend a polling booth for the next election.

Brooks also suggested pictures of candidates be included on the ballots and on posters in the polling stations to help voters identify who they are voting for. Coun. Lydia Bardak said she was leaning toward having posters in the polling stations, not the voting booths.

"If they were in each private cubicle, polling staff are going to have to run in there to check that no moustaches are drawn on, things like that," said Bardak.

Coun. David Wind was not sold on the idea.

"I'm not particularly eager to get into complicating the elections process, particularly given the limited kind of photogenic material they would have to work with," he said.

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