City sees surge in council hopefuls

With a week until nominations are due, more than 20 people have expressed interest in running in Whitehorse's municipal election.

With a week until nominations are due, more than 20 people have expressed interest in running in Whitehorse’s municipal election.

It’s a marked contrast to the 2006 municipal election, in which only eight councillors ran for six positions.

“Last election the numbers were striking because they were so low,” said Norma Felker, returning officer for the city.

“It was noteworthy because we used to see considerably larger numbers of people running.”

In 2000, by comparison, there were 32 names on the election ballot and six different people running for mayor.

Felker isn’t too surprised with the numbers this year, saying they’re consistent with elections prior to the 2006 election.

On Thursday morning 22 people had picked up nomination forms from city hall, but Felker suspects the number is actually higher when taking into account people who accessed their forms online.

Councillor Jeanine Myhre is the latest incumbent to announce she will run for another term.

“The whole issue was with work – whether I had enough time for both work and council – and I think I have it all worked out,” she said.

She’s an office worker at Arctic Star Printing.

“I’m going to go ahead with it.”

Other incumbent councillors who have announced their intentions to run are Dave Austin, Douglas Graham, Florence Roberts and Dave Stockdale.

So has the incumbent mayor, Bev Buckway.

Councillor Jan Stick has announced she won’t seek re-election.

Skeeter Miller-Wright, who campaigned against the city opening a cement batch plant and gravel quarry near McLean Lake, announced last week he will run for council.

So will local lawyer Graham Lang, although he has scrapped plans to put together a slate of candidates.

“I wish I had thought of the idea earlier. Things would have worked out differently since a lot of people already had their plans worked out for the fall,” he said.

He won’t try to build allegiances with other candidates this year, but he said he thinks a slate is “a solid idea” for the future.

He’s running on a platform of “electoral form,” including introducing a ward system for city councillors. It’s something that has never been talked about previously in Whitehorse, said Felker.

Ranj Pillai, a Yukon College instructor and small-business owner has also announced he’ll run for council.

Ron Swizdaryk, who unsuccessfully ran for council in 2006, is trying his hand again.

And Betty Irwin, co-ordinator for Yukon’s Women and Trades in Technology, has expressed her interest as well.

“I’ve been thinking of running for the last three or four years,” she said.

Irwin has dedicated much of her career to encouraging girls and women to get involved in trades. She was the first woman in Canada to receive her journeyman certificate in radio and television repair.

She was a territorial NDP candidate in 1988 but was unsuccessful.

Nominations close Thursday, September 24 at noon.

The municipal election is on October 15.

Contact Vivian Belik at