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Heyck ready to race

Myles Dolphin
Northern News Services
Published Friday, June 29, 2012

After months of speculation and personal consideration, deputy mayor Mark Heyck has finally thrown his hat into the ring of mayoral candidates for the upcoming municipal election in October.

The announcement, "one of the worst kept secrets" according to Tim Doyle, executive director for the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce and a fellow mayoral candidate, was made early Wednesday morning by way of Heyck's Twitter account.

"Looking forward to engaging with Yellowknifers on the issues facing #yzf," the post on Heyck's account read.

After discussing the issue with his family, he decided the timing was right. In March, Mayor Gord Van Tighem announced at a Chamber of Commerce meeting that he would not run for a fifth term, leaving the door wide open for Heyck and other potential candidates.

Van Tighem officially endorsed the 36-year-old deputy mayor and three-term city councillor at that meeting, saying his right-hand man was "developing a reputation, and that's what Yellowknife needs. And he's young, enthusiastic, local."

Three other candidates have made intentions to run so far: Doyle, city councillor Paul Falvo and former Yk Motors owner Tony Vane.

The married father of twin six-year-old boys has been a mainstay in local politics for the better part of a decade, serving on city council for nine years, including the last six as deputy mayor.

Born and raised in Yellowknife, Heyck said he believes his experience gives him a good idea of where the city needs to improve.

"I've learned a lot from Gord and I'm grateful for his support but there are areas where the city can improve and I'm not afraid to make those changes," he said.

One change in particular is an energy efficient retrofit program for low income households that Heyck would like to implement. He said it would allow homeowners to reduce their heating costs by retrofitting their homes with energy-efficient items and repaying the cost to the city over a number of years, with no burden to the taxpayer or municipality.

"It would be quite beneficial because the cost is attached to the property, not the owner, so if you sell your house you aren't stuck with that payment," he said.

Doyle announced his candidacy in February. He said people want change and a different way of thinking.

"Mark's been there for a number of years and I appreciate the work he has done, but people find it harder and harder to do business here," he said. "The business community needs to be encouraged to grow."

Falvo praised Heyck's maturity and experience but underlined the differences between the two.

"I'm more likely to stand up to the administration," he said. "What's also interesting is that whatever happens, two gaps will have to be filled in the council."

Heyck also wants to invest more in events that help build a sense of community, an aspect he believes is lacking in Yellowknife.

"I've been seeing positive feedback about the garden parties, but I think in the last few years we've lost a bit of the sense of community that once existed here," he said. "The city has a role to play in fostering these events and bringing the community together."

The municipal election will take place Oct. 15.

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