A changing of the guard MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

 HAINES JUNCTION Out with the old mayor with the four-syllable surname and in with the new, err, mayor with the four-syllable surname, said…


Out with the old mayor with the four-syllable surname and in with the new, err, mayor with the four-syllable surname, said residents of Haines Junction on Thursday.

George Nassiopoulos defeated incumbent mayor John Farynowski, taking 103 votes to Farynowski’s 74 in Thursday’s election.

The result spelled the end of Farynowski’s 12-year political run in the Junction.

There were two simple reasons for it, he said on Friday.

“It’s probably that I’ve been in for a long time and people thought it’s time for a change,” he said.

“And the second thing is we had low voter turnout: I don’t think in my mind for a minute it wasn’t a result of the YTG election being two weeks ago.”

More than 180 people voted in Thursday’s election, up significantly from the 123 who voted in 2003, said officials at the municipal office.

A 2004 enumeration of Haines Junction found 310 eligible voters, said officials.

Nassiopoulos could not be reached for comment.


The new pharaoh of Faro is Michelle Vainio.

A town councillor for six years, resident for 18 years, and long-time “volunteer junkie” who rolls up her sleeves whenever she can, Vainio defeated Faro’s incumbent mayor Phyllis Forbes on Thursday.

“I’m feeling pretty good, just ready to go and continue on with some of the great work we’re doing,” said Vainio on election night.

“I’m really ecstatic.”

Faro, named after a card name popular during the Wild West, once was home to 2,100 people, most of them working at the largest open-pit lead/zinc mine in the world.

Mining ended in Faro in 1998, leaving behind an environmental disaster.

But from those toxic tailings a real town has started to emerge, said Vainio.

“I will tell you this: the attitude and the sense of community now is second to none,” she said.

“People really want to make this community work.”

Many of Faro’s challenges are a result of a community that was planned for up to 3,000 people but has less than 400 at the moment, she explained.

Vainio’s goal is to see the completion of an integrated communities sustainability plan, so that Faro can have an “overall plan, for our whole community,” she said.

Vainio took 85 votes of about 200 cast on Thursday.

Her closest competitor, former mayor of Faro and former Yukon MLA James McLachlan, took 70.

The incumbent Forbes placed a distant third, with 44 votes.

“It’s hard to think of anyone who didn’t come out and vote,” said Sally Baker, returning officer for Faro’s election.


Few of us thank the farmers that grow our food.

But when someone guides a small, oft-forgotten place from the democratic barrens into the light, they are thanked for planting the seed.

With more than 60 people turning out to vote for a new local advisory council in Carcross on Thursday, Linda Pringle was thanked. 

Pringle, who won ward three, or Carcross proper, with 19 votes, put her name forward to see the project through to completion, she said.

“It’s sort of a reward for your hard work,” said Pringle on election night.

 “A lot of work went into getting this created, and here it is — it’s extremely fulfilling,” she said.

“I’m truly honoured that (voters) would do this.”

Pringle wants to oversee the fruition of the long-awaited $3-million waterfront development, she said.

And if she could have everything, Pringle would like to see a new community club for Carcross and improved government-to-government communication, she added.

“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done,” said Pringle.

“I got myself into this, I started it, I’d like to see it through.”

Joining Pringle on the council is fellow council creator, Murray Lundberg.

Lundberg feels the team that voters assembled is up to a very big task.

 “The enormous workload we have ahead of us, I think we can handle it quite nicely,” said Lundberg, after taking one of two at-large seats on the council with 23 votes.

“The future of Carcross, there’s no doubt, is going to be in tourism, and the waterfront development program will be one of the things that makes that either viable or not,” said Lundberg.

The second at-large councillor on the new Carcross council is newbie politician and small-business owner, Dan Kemble.

“It’s my first foray into political life,” said Kemble on election night.

“I’ve got mixed feelings about it. I’m a small-business owner, and I’m very busy with my own life, but you know, if you’re not paying attention, anything can happen,” he said.

Kemble received 43 votes after being encouraged by community members to run.

“It was partially to satisfy them,” he said.

“But there’s been some new growth in our council, and I want to be part of it.”


Incumbent mayor Clara Jules took 98 votes, beating challenger Carl Smarch, who took 36 votes.

About 134 ballots were cast out of about 200 eligible said the returning officer.

Councillors elected: Robin Smarch, Jim Clark, Margaret Douville and Bernice Schonewille.