For 32 years, Patti Balsillie has made Whitehorse her home.
In that time, she has raised a family, lived in various neighbourhoods, volunteered with many organizations and taken on a career that has aimed to help other businesses grow.
Now she is setting her sights on serving as the city’s next mayor.
In a March 4 press release, Balsillie highlighted her plans for the Oct. 21 municipal election, which she had previously detailed on social media beginning in late January.
“After 32 years of home in Whitehorse, raising my family, living in many neighbourhoods, growing business and volunteering in dozens of community and national organizations, I am excited to share my intent to run in the City of Whitehorse Election 2021 for Mayor,” she stated in the post.
“I have a lot to learn and my team of support is quickly growing. I can tell you that I hope we inspire greater voter engagement and that we can design a shared quality of life vision for all of us. Stay tuned. Please share.”
Subsequent posts on the page note she is grateful for the support she’s received and is studying city documents as well as the territory’s Municipal Act as she preps for the campaign trail, while also asking residents for their vision for Whitehorse and what they need from the mayor.
In a March 8 interview, Balsillie said she has considered running for office for years and now is the right time.
“Today life is very different,” Balsillie said, noting her children are now grown and she has the time and passion to take on the full-time role as mayor.
“We need change,” she said, pointing out the growth Whitehorse is experiencing is unprecedented and the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about changes unlike many have experienced in their lifetime.
Balsillie said her skill set built throughout her career gives her the tools to be the facilitator and team leader that the mayor’s role requires.
Balsillie has worked as a consultant since 2008. Prior to that she was the chief executive officer for the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon and had previously worked as the executive director for the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce.
She’s also volunteered in a variety of positions for many organizations over the years including being vice-chair of the governance committee at Yukon College and community champion for the Bell Let’s Talk campaign.
As Whitehorse continues to grow with no sign of slowing down, Balsillie highlighted four areas she believes are impacting quality of life in the city.
They include housing, safety, the economy and access to nature.
“They’re tied together very closely,” she said, emphasizing that it will take work between the city and other governments to find ways to address housing supply and affordability, stimulate the economy as well as addressing safety and ensuring access to nature is championed and preserved.
Should she be elected as Whitehorse’ next mayor, Balsillie said at the end of the three-year term she would like to have more of a housing formula developed and underway with other governments as well as an action plan to support a thriving economy. Work to improve safety in the community and ensure access to nature will also be an ongoing effort, she said.
Balsillie said she wants to encourage more residents to cast their votes this year.
With a focus on change moving forward, she said she also hopes others who want to do things differently with a fresh perspective will step forward in the run for council.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org