Darrell Hookey said he has selfish reasons for running for Whitehorse City Council.
“I enjoy it,” he said of community work.
“Some play (Dungeons and Dragons), and me, I like municipal politics. There’s a lot of balls in the air.”
It’s not the kind of thing he ever would have thought he’d like, he told the News on Sept. 25, but then he spent three years as president of the Whistle Bend Community Association. He said it was in that role that he learned he likes digging into why municipalities work the way they do, and explaining things to people, and turning their thoughts around on issues.
Hookey moved to the Yukon 28 years ago. At the time, he was working for KMart, but the company had tried to move him from Lindsay, Ontario, to Toronto.
“So I jumped ship and took a job with Northern Stores,” he said. “They promised never to send me to Toronto.”
What the company did end up doing though, was divesting itself of its Whitehorse store after three months. The company offered to pay Hookey’s way back to Ontario, but he and his wife had a new baby, and they were enjoying Whitehore life. Instead, he found work with the Hougens and stayed, later going on to edit What’s Up Yukon.
Since then, his family has lived in almost every neighbourhood in the city, something he thinks would help him as a councillor.
“Every neighbourhood has its own personality and I liked each one,” he said “It impresses upon me that there’s no such thing as a Whitehorse resident we are many things to many different people and different times.”
As a resident of Whistle Bend now, he said it’s neat to see how the neighbourhood has grown, and how council has reacted to the needs of residents.
“Whistle Bend was a tabletop exercise for about 20 years amongst planners and engineers and politicians and the (residents) association, we were the first ones to put our hands up and go ‘hey there’s people living here now,’” he said, noting that brought residents into the planning process for everything from playground design to fire-smarting.
If elected, Hookey said he’d like to see council change in terms of the way the mayor is elected. Rather than have residents run for mayor or council, he’d like to see seven councillors elected, and then have an elected council choose a mayor from among itself.
That way, he said, city hall doesn’t lose out on the experience and knowledge of councillors who may choose to run for mayor and lose.
He’s also interested in limiting the development incentives policy to rental units only, and in addressing traffic issues in the city. Some of these include introducing the idea of a park-and-ride to reduce traffic on Two Mile Hill, and converting Second and Fourth Avenues to one-way streets. He said he thinks this would speed traffic through the core, and make streets safer for pedestrians, who would only have to look one way before crossing.
The Whitehorse municipal election takes place on Oct. 18.
On Sept. 28, from 5 p.m. to 7:15 p.m., the MacBride Museum will host councillors and mayoral candidates to discuss the challenges faced by the non-profit sector.
Contact Amy Kenny at firstname.lastname@example.org