Even though Jeffrey Humble is leaving Yellowknife to take a job in Ontario in the coming weeks, he’d still like to see the city deliver on a number of key initiatives once he’s gone.
Humble, who’s worked as the city’s director of planning and development for the past decade, recently accepted the same position with the City of Peterborough.
While it remains to be seen when his last day will be, Humble says he expects to stay in Yellowknife into the new year as the city begins a recruiting process to replace him.
Humble, who’s originally from Winnipeg, says Peterborough seems like a good fit for him in this stage of his career.
“I’ve got some great experience here in Yellowknife and I think I can bring that to that area,” he told Moose FM. “I am still very much interested in growing my career and my skillset and Peterborough seems like a good fit.
“I think the department [in Yellowknife] is set up in a really good position to transition to bring somebody fresh into the position.”
For Humble, everything seems to be coming full circle as his department gets set to undergo a performance review in the coming days.
He remembers going through a similar process when he first started working for the department a decade ago.
City needs to move forward with downtown, harbour plan
Now that his days in Yellowknife are numbered, Humble has had some time to reflect on what’s worked and what hasn’t panned out during his time with the city.
Over the past decade, he says he’s most proud of the city’s commitment to streetscaping projects along Old Airport Road and Franklin Avenue and the development of several subdivisions.
Humble also commended the city for supporting downtown revitalization and for drafting a harbour plan, but stressed the need to push both projects along sooner rather than later.
“The city and the territorial government really have to stand up with the private sector and have the courage to make a serious investment in the downtown core,” he said.
“We’ve done some of that … but we need to follow that up with some capital investment. That is the heart of the city.”
Perhaps just as important, he says the city needs to enhance waterfront access around Yellowknife Bay.
“If we can’t increase that accessibility of the waterfront, we’re going to have difficulty attracting tourism opportunities and making Yellowknife a destination for many people in Canada and throughout the world.”
Another shakeup at city hall
Humble’s imminent departure marks the latest shakeup at city hall.
Just six weeks ago, the city announced that senior administrative officer, Dennis Kefalas, would be returning to his previous role as director of public works.
That position became open when the previous director, Chris Greencorn, accepted a separate position within the department.
Less than a month after that, Darcy Hernblad announced his retirement from the city’s fire division.
The former fire chief spent over 30 years fighting fires in Yellowknife and five years as chief before calling it a career in late October.
Around the same time, deputy fire chief Mike Hoffman also left the division after four years on the job.
Asked if his departure is related to other senior staff leaving, Humble said: “Change is good, anybody working in the public sector knows the pressures that staff are under.
“We work within a framework of serving the public and we work within a framework of policies and so on that guide how things operate.
“Taking the high ground on issues is something we all do and I think we’re all proud of the work that’s being done here.”