Bodie takes mayor’s seat in Carmacks byelection

Building more houses and improving the village's landfill are high on the agenda for Carmacks's new mayor, Lee Bodie. Bodie was elected in a byelection on Feb. 5, after beating out Robert Mayer.

Building more houses and improving the village’s landfill are high on the agenda for Carmacks’s new mayor, Lee Bodie.

Bodie was elected in a byelection on Feb. 5, after beating out Robert Mayer.

The 61-year-old had held the position of acting mayor since the death of Elaine Wyatt, who passed away from cancer in late November.

Wyatt had been mayor of Carmacks for nine years.

After serving as deputy mayor for six years and councillor for three years, Bodie said it was just a natural progression to run for mayor.

“I really enjoy it,” he said, “and I enjoy trying to better the community in any way we can.”

“We have a lot of things on our plate and things we want to do.”

One of the goals is to spend the remainder of the Building Canada fund on upgrading the landfill.

Bodie said the village needs to do a better job of recycling, and getting rid of old vehicles.

A better facility would make it easier for them to achieve that, he added.

“Our main focus is on recycling and sending fewer things to the landfill,” he said.

Thinking long-term, it’s important for council to prepare for a potential influx in population, Bodie said, referring to the Casino mine project.

Casino Mining Corp. has submitted a proposal to assessors for the $2.5-billion mine, the biggest project ever considered by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board.

The mine, located 150 kilometres northwest of Carmacks, would employ an estimated 1,000 people during construction and 600 during production if it is built.

Bodie said the village could be “caught with its pants down” if it doesn’t start preparing for that now.

“No one will say it out loud but we know it’s coming and they know it’s coming,” Bodie said.

“We need to upgrade our infrastructure and prepare ourselves for them. Even if 10 per cent of the number of people they’re projecting use Carmacks, we’ll be overwhelmed.

“The nursing station and the fire department aren’t equipped to deal with that.”

More people means more housing, and that’s something they’re not ready for either, Bodie said.

“We’ll need help from the territorial government with land; we’re only a small community and we were never set up for that growth,” he said.

“Our mandate isn’t housing but it’s to take care of our people and make sure their needs are met.”

Bodie painted a grim picture of the housing situation in Carmacks.

When asked to elaborate, he said “there is none.”

In 2009, $1 million in upgrades were made to the Tatchun Centre General Store, in preparation for nearby mining development.

But there was nowhere to house the staff needed to run the store, Bodie said.

“It strangled us for a long time,” he said.

“When I moved here 10 years ago there were a lot of country residential lots. Now there are very few places to live.”

A housing complex with six units is scheduled for construction in April, and that should help alleviate the crunch, Bodie said.

Fixing the town’s only skating rink is on the agenda, too.

It was closed down in December after a routine inspection of the village’s facilities by its insurance company revealed that supports holding the roof above the outdoor rink were unstable.

Bodie’s term ends in October, after which a municipal election will be held.

Working with the three other councillors has been a smooth process, he said.

“We don’t really have debates, we have discussions,” he said.

“We talk things out reasonably amongst ourselves.”

Because there are fewer than six months to the election, the Municipal Act doesn’t require council to elect a fourth councillor in the interim, Bodie explained.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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