Betty Irwin at city council in Whitehorse on May 28. Irwin announced Sept. 4 she will be seeking re-election during the 2018 municipal election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Betty Irwin wants another term on Whitehorse City Council

Irwin plans to run for re-election this October

Don’t ask Betty Irwin if she’s ever considered running for mayor. The three-term Whitehorse city councillor will narrow her eyes at you, lean forward and state loudly and clearly – no.

“I’ve never entertained that,” she told the News on Sept. 4, the same day she announced she would seek a fourth back-to-back term as a coucillor. “I see what the mayor duties are and what (Mayor Dan Curtis) has to do and this is not where I live.”

Irwin doesn’t want to make the speeches, or show up at the presentations. She’s much happier digging into documents and reports and trying to reach consensus with her fellow councillors.

“You should have seven people on council who all have different priorities, different visions and different interests because that means, hopefully, that a lot of citizenry is represented. If you had everybody thinking along the same lines, that wouldn’t be good. And it’s just a matter of sitting down and you can always reach a compromise. You can. And that in itself is a very rewarding process … when people give and take and you come up with a different direction.”

The big reason Irwin, one of the founding members of Yukon Women in Trades, and director of the Humane Society Yukon and the Golden Age Society, is running again though, is that she loves the job.

“I’m a governance and policy freak. That’s really where I love to be, so watching the way new legislation is formed and the whole process, I love that. I really do.”

She said that when she ran for her first term, she didn’t know what to expect. And what she did expect ended up being much different in practice than in theory. The first six months were like an orientation process.

“If you’re new it takes you six months to even find your way to the damn bathroom. It really does. Because the process is very formal. You have to get used to that and the way meetings are run and also, to find out as a councillor, what you can do and what you can’t do.”

Now she feels like she knows the ins and outs of council. She has watched a handful of projects come to fruition in that time (Whistle Bend), and seen others go from non-issues, to some of the most pressing.

The housing crisis, for example, wasn’t something people were talking about when she started as a councillor. Now it’s the biggest issue there is. She said council needs to keep working with the Yukon government on land development.

Another thing council needs to keep working at is tax levels. She said she thinks council does a good job of holding the tax rate, and would like to continue doing that while still acknowledging that taxes are the price you pay for living in a community. There are associated costs, and at a certain point, if you’re lowering taxes, you’re likely going to be scrapping services.

She said her main objective as a councillor is to keep delivering services and shaping the city with an eye towards what Whitehorse will look like in five years, 10 years, 20 years.

She said she’s excited to focus on the downtown and Marwell plans, as well as the review of the Official Community Plan.

“And, if I do get back on council, I’m going to keep asking operations about our electric buses. Going to keep nagging them about that for sure. I mean, you know, like a terrier when it gets something.”

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Maura Forrest/Yukon News File photos from Beaver Creek White River First Nation
Bessie Chassé elected as new chief of White River First Nation

“I was happy that the membership saw that I was ready for this position.”

X
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for April 21, 2021.… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Returning students and seasonal workers encouraged to get the vaccine while self-isolating in Yukon

Yukon health care system has few resources to offer to struggling provinces, said Hanley.

Inside the courtroom in Whitehorse, Chief Electoral Officer Max Harvey, Vuntut Gwitchin returning officer Renee Charlie and Supreme Court Judge Suzanne Duncan open the box containing the names of the tied candidates. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Annie Blake elected as MLA for Vuntut Gwitchin after name draw

“I’m still feeling shocked that my name was drawn, I feel overwhelmed.”

Crystal Schick/Yukon News Yukon MP Larry Bagnell speaks at an announcement in Whitehorse on July 8, 2019.
Federal budget includes changes to Northern Residents Deduction, minimum wage, green energy funds

The massive budget included some rare references to the territory.

Doug Bell photographed in Whitehorse in 2008, for an article about his role as Yukon Commissioner in the early 1980’s. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Yukon remembers former commissioner Doug Bell

Bell passed away in Whitehorse on Sunday, at the age of 94.

Crystal Schick/Yukon News Whitehorse International Airport in Whitehorse on May 6, 2020.
NAV CANADA suspends review for Whitehorse airport traffic control

NAV CANADA announced on April 15 that it is no longer considering… Continue reading

A bulldozer levels piles of garbage at the Whitehorse landfill in January 2012. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Rural dump closures and tipping fees raise concern from small communities

The government has said the measures are a cost-cutting necessity

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at city council matters for the week of April 12

Joel Krahn/joelkran.com Hikers traverse the Chilkoot Trail in September 2015. Alaska side.
The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer

The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer Parks… Continue reading

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: Hands of Hope, the quilt of poppies

Toilets are important Ed. note: Hands of Hope is a Whitehorse-based non-profit… Continue reading

Most Read