Getting visitors from Edmonton isn’t anything new in Yellowknife, but it’s not every day that the city’s mayor flies into town.
Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson joined Mayor Mark Heyck for a luncheon with Yellowknifers at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre Friday.
The pair discussed a range of topics, from the power of cities, reconciliation, engagement and open government, and urban development.
This was Iveson’s first visit to Yellowknife since his election in 2013. He was joined by a group of about 20 delegates from different ‘organs’ of Edmonton’s economic development.
This included members of their chamber of commerce, representatives from the Edmonton Northern Partnership and the University of Edmonton.
“What I really want to stress is the value of the friendship and relationships that we see … reflected in who’s decided to come up as part of our mission here,” Iveson said.
“I think that reflects the fact that we know full-well how many people from the North come to Edmonton for education, come to Edmonton to do business, come to Edmonton for healthcare and come to Edmonton for fun.”
Invest in the relationship
Iveson spoke about the importance of investing in the relationship between the two cities.
“Whatever it is that brings you to our city, we are grateful for those relationships and part of the Northern partnership is not just to encourage more of that but to find opportunities for Edmonton businesses to do more in the North,” he said.
“To invest with you, to create prosperity together because the North is very much part of the trading area of the city of Edmonton, but it’s also an investment place.”
Tourism industry shows ‘huge opportunity for growth’
One big area for investment includes tourism. There is a ‘huge opportunity for growth’ of the tourism industry between the two capitals Iveson said.
According to him, Edmonton’s airport authorities are looking at ways to bring more tourists through Edmonton to the North, adding that there was more interest from international travelers to learn about Yellowknife’s traditional Indigenous culture.
“I think there’s actually much we in the South can learn from the leadership and example that we see in the North here,” he said.
“That too can be a platform for investment, whether it’s in tourism or whether it’s in other industries. I just see nothing but potential.”
Mayor Mark Heyck added that the point of the luncheon was to discuss how to formalize the relationship between Edmonton and Yellowknife.
“The focus of today’s activities is building that relationship between Edmonton and Yellowknife among many different sectors,” he said.
“Whether it’s government, airports, the business community, academia, you name it and we have a lot of positive opportunities to build that relationship.”
Heyck noted the economic impact Yellowknifers have on Edmonton between shopping trips, hotels, and making visits for sporting events and concerts.
He said he’s interested in creating clear, concrete goals with the City of Edmonton to see ‘mutual prosperity’ moving forward.