Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu wants to build off of what she’s spent the last two council terms working on.
That’s why, she told the News on Sept. 20, she’s seeking a third term as Whitehorse city councillor.
“These are just really exciting times,” she said. “Things are just moving and shaking in the City of Whitehorse.”
Curteanu, who has served on council since 2012, said she opted for re-election instead of the mayor’s seat because she still feels she’s constantly learning from the job, which she does in addition to working with the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.
“I believe that the City of Whitehorse deserves the best mayor it can possibly have and even though I have learned a ton, I’ve learned more than I could have ever imagined, I also realized there’s a lot more that I need to learn,” she said.
One thing she says she has learned is how to balance the needs of the city against the expectations of its citizens against the resources the city has to serve residents.
“There are all these problems within the city and you want to be able to work on all of them and you believe you can but the reality is we have limited authority and we have limited resources and it all becomes a balancing act,” she said.
She said that, sometimes, the ball gets dropped (“and we wear it”), but the key is to learn from that.
Some of the things she’s proud of include the relationship council has built with the Kwanlin Dun First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council. Curteanu is also happy with movement made on the city’s solid waste management file, and the progress that’s being made on housing in the city.
Citing the $1-million grant the city gave to Challenge Disability Resource Group this summer, to help with construction of an affordable housing complex downtown, Curteanu said she thinks council has to continue to be strategic in how it goes about addressing things like the housing situation, and the transit master plan, which was released in the spring.
One strategy she has for looking at transit issues in Whitehorse is to follow the Smart City initiative, which focusses on developing and implementing technology.
At a basic level, she said the city has become better with using social media to inform residents on city issues, but integrating it into transit would be beneficial, she said.
Curteanu cited apps that give up-to-the-minute information on where buses are and whether they’re on time (particularly useful in -40, she said), those that allow drivers to pay for parking rather than using quarters, apps for checking traffic congestion and accident reports, and an option to pay city parking tickets online.
Not only would technology increase efficiency, she said, if used for citizen engagement, it could also lead to a greater diversity of opinions on city issues.
A lot of the time, she said, the same faces come out to council meetings and to participate in public surveys, but if more online options were available, the city could be soliciting feedback from residents whose lives don’t allow for attendance at those events.
The Whitehorse municipal election takes place on Oct. 18.
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