Dan Boyd thinks it takes two terms to grasp the learning curve when it comes to being a city councillor. That’s why he’ll seek re-election in the Whitehorse municipal election on Oct. 18.
“I always had in mind that I would do at least two terms when I put my name down the first time and in the 90s I did two terms,” said Boyd, after announcing to media on Sept. 10. “I think councillors should, if they can, offer themselves up for at least two.”
Not only does it take a while to figure out how the city works, and how the system works, he said it can take some time for council to gel.
“It takes a while for councillors to really figure out (how) … council works and get their priorities organized. And it’s difficult to accomplish much in three years,” he said.
One of the issues he, like many councillors and residents running in the election, has brought up as a point of focus, is the housing situation in the city.
“I think we’re suffering on all fronts for affordable housing in all areas, not just in low-income. The average price of housing went up 10 per cent year over year and that type of increase is just not sustainable.”
He said a lot of that stems from the supply of affordable land. He said more needs to be developed than currently has been. Whistle Bend is the biggest development in recent years, and he said he expects it to fill up by the end of the next council term.
It took a good ten years to get to this point, and he said it will likely be at least as much work to bring a new neighbourhood online.
“Whistle Bend isn’t going to cut it for very much longer,” he said.
“I believe we’re heading into a housing crisis even worse than what we have right now because we’re not able to plan and put in the heavy infrastructure quick enough to stay in front of it.”
He said he believes mining will continue to do well in the Yukon and there will be even more demand for housing in Whitehorse.
Boyd is also concerned with tax levels on residents. He said a lot of people are paying a lot of tax.
If you’re a family making a total of $100,000 a year, and you’re paying $7,000 on your property, that’s seven per cent of your income, he said, and that’s significant.
“I believe we can live within inflation,” Boyd said, noting that the first two years of the current term, council increased taxes in tandem with inflation rates.
In 2018, he voted against the rate of 2.3 per cent.
“Last year it was 2.1 per cent,” he said. “We could have done that and been fine.”
Going forward he said he sees revision of the Official Community Plan as a major issue for the city.
“It will take half the (council) mandate to get it accomplished,” he said.
“It’s a big and important step that will guide us into the future.”
Contact Amy Kenny at firstname.lastname@example.org