Like many, Colin Laforme came to the Yukon for a few months’ adventure and watched those months turn into years.
His latest adventure is joining the mayor’s race in the Whitehorse municipal election.
“I thought the city was going through a demographics change,” said Laforme, 33. “We have a lot of young, new, vibrant people in town and the city was becoming stagnant so I thought it was a good opportunity to breathe some new life into an awesome city.”
Laforme, who works as a city bylaw officer, told the News he made the run for mayor instead of councillor because, as a city worker, he’ll have to resign from his job if elected (the mayor’s salary is more than $100,000 and councillors make $36,000).
He said he thinks the city is moving in the right direction on a lot of things, just not fast enough, particularly when it comes to housing issues.
Laforme said there are lots of young people, with good-paying jobs, who can’t afford more than a basement apartment. At the same time, older folks who are selling homes that are too big for them now aren’t finding an adequate return on their investments when they try to downsize, and end up paying significant amounts for smaller houses and condos.
He said he wants to see ingenuity in dealing with an issue like this — one that’s a problem for everyone. This could mean anything from tiny houses, to community living, to anything that exists outside of the current way of thinking about what a city looks like.
He’d also like to see Whitehorse modernize.
“We’re in a modern age and we run the city kind of like it’s the early ’90s or late ’80s,” he said. Residents should be able to do everything from pay taxes online, to registering online for classes at the Canada Games Centre.
“Anything done through the city, you have to sign eight different papers in five different buildings and make sure it all lines up,” he said. Apps and online options, in his mind, are more efficient, and will reduce redundancies at city hall.
He’d also like better accountability when it comes to accounting. Each year, the city announces its budget in January. After that, he said, there are no updates on changes, or where the money is being spent.
He wants a portal where residents can log in and see where city funds are going rather than having to rely on a meeting that happens once a year.
Finally, he said his third major concern is with safety. Since moving to Whitehorse after his first visit in 2011, he has lived in Riverdale, Granger, downtown, and now Copper Ridge, with his wife and two small kids. He said every neighbourhood has had some element of crime, even if it’s as minor as having someone rifle through the contents of a car.
He said the RCMP handles issues as best it can with the resources it has on hand, but he’d like to see the police work with bylaw and the Kwanlin Dün First Nation Community Safety Officer and Land Steward Program.
The Whitehorse municipal election takes place on Oct. 18.
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