Why did this prime Yellowknife real estate sell for $1 and promises?

Time to start asking some hard questions about the tattered state of our economy and what we can do to turn it around

Symptoms of a failing economy

We in Yellowknife don’t really know anything about addictions in the small communities and we figure the best thing is to put people on an airplane and send them south to get fixed up and then we bring them back to the same place they left.

In 2013, MLA Tom Beaulieu, from the small community of Fort Resolution, as health minister said: Why don’t we ask the people what they want so we can tackle these problems. The people listed some of the things they wanted but the mainly said let’s begin with On-The-land healing! No On-The-Land healing happened.

If we follow through with the recommendations of Beaulieu’s forum, we will be providing healing options in the communities which will take the pressure off Yellowknife’s streets, our emergency rooms, and hospital wards, not to mention police, courts and correctional institutions.

Person asleep on streets of downtown Yellowknife, a too common occurrence.
It’s hard to ignore people sleeping on our streets and working out their wellness and homeless problems on the streets. Families don’t ignore it, they stay away from downtown. Other people are leaving town which is why our population is flat.

Difficulty Getting Daycare Hurts Families And Northern Economy​

Making daycares more affordable, as the federal government has done, is a good thing.

Lower fees make it easier for the families that presently have daycare. It also gives more families the option for one or both to work contributing to the economy.

But such benefits are greatly reduced if the GNWT isn’t able to match the affordable with accessibility to daycare space and the people to work in them. That’s where it falls apart. 

Kids at daycare

Stores, Restaurants, Retailers Struggle To Hire And Retain Staff​

Too often BIG government hurts the people and economy it aims to serve. I witnessed this as a business person in the marketing business in Yellowknife.

Yellowknife once had a robust advertising and graphic arts industry, with four or five robust agencies employing dozens of people. The decision was made to do the designing and marketing in-house, which led to the government hiring those same people. So the GNWT grew at the expense of those local businesses which reduced the private sector and services offered for hire in the city.

GNWT wages and benefits are the envy of workers in the private sector. Turnover is high. What can be done about that? A good starting point is acknowledging it’s a problem for a government pledging to help grow the economy.

4. Northern Tradespeople

Scarcity Of Trades For Home Repair And Maintenance​

The cost of building a home in Yellowknife is scary enough. Even scarier is having your furnace stop working in -40 on a Friday night of a long weekend. 

Getting tradespeople in the North is little different than attracting doctors and nurses. Tradespeople are in short supply but are just as necessary. Our local plumbing, heating, and construction companies are always going flat out. They provide good service but they have difficulty finding and retaining staff like every other business. We risk burning them out. One day we may make that call at -40 and find no one answers.

What can a government do? Produce apprentices. Aurora College has a range of trades training but are we getting any results?