Candidates trade laughs, not barbs, at forum

What last night's city council forum lacked in accusations and zingers compared to the previous evening's mayoral forum, it made up for in laughs.

What last night’s city council forum lacked in accusations and zingers compared to the previous evening’s mayoral forum, it made up for in laughs.

The Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce held the second of two candidate forums at the Gold Rush Inn, with 18 of the 22 running for city council in attendance.

Brought up in waves of four or five at a time, they had 30 seconds to introduce themselves and then answer individual questions in less than two minutes.

Topics ranged from the most pressing issues for city council, to fiscal responsibility, to property tax increases.

Unlike the mayoral forum, where one candidate accused another of being responsible for the death of a person, this event was more lighthearted.

Long-time councillor Dave Stockdale, who is seeking a 12th consecutive term, opted to “use a lifeline” and ask the audience to help him answer his question about team building experiences.

“At council, I’m very open to other people’s ideas,” he added.

“I won’t carry a grudge if I don’t win an argument, and I’ll do things for the good of the city.”

Peter Jickling drew one of the evening’s biggest laughs explaining how he would make Whitehorse more attractive for business investment.

“I think the first thing to do is recognize the assets that we already have,” he said.

“I’d also like to keep doing ad campaigns and come up with a plan based on people’s opinions.

“Brevity is considered a virtue in some cultures, so I’ll stop now.”

Roslyn Woodcock, who lost a recount vote to Mike Gladish in the last election, was asked what she’d like to accomplish before the end of her term.

She said she wants to see less traffic downtown, as well as less single-use travel in vehicles.

“I think the city is already doing a number of good things, such as its Transportation Demand Management Plan,” she said.

The plan provides a set of programs and policies geared at making the city more efficient when it comes its transportation network.

One of the goals is to reduce the number of residents driving to work from the current 75 per cent of trips, to 50 per cent by 2036.

“Some of the stuff is already in the works and I’d like to see that continue,” she added.

Jens Nielsen was asked whether he endorsed the city’s idea to install 70 new parking meters in the downtown core.

The new meters, meant to ease the downtown parking situation, will allow parking for three hours, unlike most of the others which only allow for two.

Before moderator Tim Kucharuk had finished asking the question, the audience groaned.

“By show of hands – who is for more parking metres?” Nielsen asked.

Very few people, if any, raised their hands.

“I’m a big fan of town hall meetings,” Nielsen said.

“I think we could get more people to participate online. Those solutions will come from us.”

Garth Brown, Helen Geisler, George Arcand and Keith Ellert were absent. The municipal election is on Oct. 15.

Contact Myles Dolphin at