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Alty to Municipalities: Ask for Commitments from MLA Candidates

With the Northwest Territories' territorial election looming, the Northwest Territories Association of Communities (NWTAC) has taken a bold step by urging each candidate for Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) to prioritize essential services in their campaigns.

In a recent social media announcement, Rebecca Alty, President of the NWTAC and Mayor of Yellowknife, underscored the critical need for clean drinking water, well-maintained roads, efficient sewage and waste management, inclusive recreational opportunities, and more.

The NWTAC has long advocated for increased funding to sustain essential services and infrastructure in the Northwest Territories. Currently facing an annual collective underfunding of $38.46 million, community governments are struggling to maintain crucial facilities and services without compromising the well-being of residents. Alty emphasized the urgent requirement for core funding, stating, "This core funding is required to sustain core services and infrastructure, and not frills."

Despite some minor increases over the years, the persistent absence of a comprehensive plan to bridge the underfunding gap has crippled the ability of communities to deliver essential services efficiently. This financial shortfall not only impedes the effective provision of vital amenities but also undermines the capacity of local governments to address future challenges.

Highlighting the broader implications of this chronic funding deficit, Alty pointed to the Conference Board of Canada's 2015 report, "Economic Impacts of Community Spending on the Territorial Economy," which projected that rectifying the funding gap would result in the creation of approximately 220 additional permanent jobs across the Northwest Territories.

The ramifications of sustained underfunding are far-reaching, with the ripple effects potentially diminishing economic growth and community resilience, Alty said.

She went on to urge residents to engage with their respective candidates and demand concrete commitments to support essential services. "Every year that municipal governments are underfunded makes it harder and harder to ensure all of our residents have clean drinking water, well-managed garbage and sewage disposal, safe roads, recreation facilities, fire and ambulance services, and more," she stressed, emphasizing the imperative of holding political representatives accountable for safeguarding the well-being of all Northwest Territories residents.

Alty said that the City of Yellowknife has already taken steps to ask the MLA candidates in the city to answer a questionnaire. You can find the answers to the city's questionnaire here


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