Boyd focuses on affordable housing, tighter spending habits

The former vice-president of Yukon Housing and assistant deputy minister of Community Services is running for a seat on Whitehorse city council in the upcoming municipal election.

Dan Boyd is hoping for the opportunity to slip back into a familiar role.

The former vice-president of Yukon Housing and assistant deputy minister of Community Services is running for a seat on Whitehorse city council in the upcoming municipal election.

It’s a position he previously held from 1994 to 2000.

Recently retired, Boyd said he now has a bit more time in his life and wants to make a difference in the community.

“I have the experience and the background, and I understand the community and its issues,” he said.

Boyd said serving as a councillor in the 1990s taught him how council operates and how to work in partnership with other governments.

Improving the relationship between the city and the Yukon government is one of his priorities.

“I think we’ve all seen that the two governments have not been getting along very well in the past two or three years,” he said.

“The Yukon government is pretty instrumental in moving forward any large programs or projects. The point is you want to be able to be respectful and collaborate on everything you possibly can.”

When Boyd worked for Yukon Housing, the relationship with the city was “good, for the most part.”

There was collaboration and respectful relationships but serious disagreements took place from time to time, he said.

Boyd said the city has to work closely with the Yukon government if it wants to improve the affordable housing situation here.

In most cities across Canada, the municipalities are a lot more involved when it comes to housing, Boyd said.

But he doesn’t believe the city is ready to take on that role just yet.

“Yukon Housing does a good job, and should continue to have that responsibility,” he said. “The city should support them as best it can.”

That means making more land available, as well as easing up the zoning and development process to make it easier for the corporation to build units.

Boyd also wants the city to keep its spending habits in check, which he blames for the rise in taxes.

Property taxes in Whitehorse went up 1.7 per cent this year, the same as in 2014.

The city’s plan to spend $56 million over the next three years to build itself two new headquarters for city staff is a project he’d take a second look at if elected, he said.

“It’ll likely cost a lot more than that and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was more like $75 million,” he said.

It’s not unlike the construction of the Canada Games Centre, he added. The final cost of $46 million was higher than the original estimate, Boyd said.

“They have a very aggressive plan to get this done. There’s no doubt the city could use some new buildings, but my concern is do we need it all? And how quickly?”

The city contends it will save about $500,000 a year through energy savings and avoiding lease costs. But Boyd said it’s his understanding the buildings were meant to be removed in the past, but that hasn’t happened yet. And as long as the city keeps them in service, it can’t realize any savings from them, he added.

“It’s easy to say we’ll tear or remove buildings down, but often they continue to operate. We have to make sure we carry through with all the aspects of the plan.”

Boyd was born and raised in Whitehorse. His parents, children and grandchildren live here too, he said.

He’s also been involved with the Rotary Club over the years, as well as the baseball and curling associations.

The municipal election will be held on Oct. 15.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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