Dave Stockdale and Betty Irwin announce candidacies for city council

Dave Stockdale and Betty Irwin aren't ready to step away from municipal politics just yet. Both incumbents announced yesterday they would be seeking another term in office when election day comes around on Oct. 15.

Dave Stockdale and Betty Irwin aren’t ready to step away from municipal politics just yet.

Both incumbents announced yesterday they would be seeking another term in office when election day comes around on Oct. 15.

Stockdale, who has served an unprecedented 11 consecutive terms since 1983, said this was the latest he’s announced his candidacy in an election year.

“I had to consider a lot of things such as my health and whether I had the enthusiasm to do it again,” he said.

“I also wondered what the response would be in the community. But a lot of people have encouraged me to run again.”

Among the issues he’s passionate about pursuing is the city’s building consolidation project, in which council plans on spending $55 million over the next three years to build itself two new headquarters for staff.

He said he also wants to see the city’s proposed curbside recycling program through. Announced last November, it was scheduled to begin in late March but has since been pushed back.

“I also want to continue improving our relationship with First Nations,” he said.

“We had the (vulnerable people) forum in April and that was very positive and soon we’ll have a roundtable follow up with the business community. I’ve looked at other cities that have good relationships with First Nations and this is how they achieved that.”

Long involved with the Yukon Soccer Association, Stockdale said he’s not ready to give up on the idea of having an outdoor sports complex in Whistle Bend.

“I’m not worried about the government’s promise to build and maintain it,” Stockdale said.

The Yukon government had proposed to build a $7-million facility that would have featured two soccer fields and a rubberized track. It would have been leased to the Yukon Outdoor Sports Complex Association, and the territorial government had promised to cover any shortfalls in operation and maintenance costs.

Despite those assurances, the project was shot down in a 3-3 vote in late April.

Stockdale made headlines for yelling at Mayor Dan Curtis and getting kicked out of council chambers following that vote.

But the outspoken councillor said he’s apologized after his outbursts and has learned to bite his tongue when necessary.

“I used to write ‘Keep your mouth shut’ on my papers during meetings as a reminder,” he said, “and yes, I still occasionally do that.”

Irwin, seeking a third term in office, received the second most votes in the 2012 municipal election with 2,537.

She said she thought long and hard about whether to come back or not, given that serving on council is time consuming.

“And at times it has been very frustrating and aggravating,” she added.

“But I’ve come to realize that I really enjoyed my terms on council. From talking to people I think this last council was one of the best in recent times and we’ve accomplished so much.”

Irwin said she’s particularly proud of the respect council members have shown each other throughout the years.

There have been some big differences of opinion, she conceded, but they have always been resolved amicably and without grudges.

She said she’s also proud of the town hall-style meetings council brought back this term. The informal get-togethers were held monthly in different neighbourhoods of Whitehorse to get a better pulse on local issues.

“That is worth so much, to be able to go out and talk to people, not just individually but as a group,” she said.

Irwin also wants to continue pushing for the city to get more revenue-raising abilities without compromising the services it offers to its citizens.

It’s become a national question, she added, and raising property taxes just isn’t enough.

“We have to keep property taxes down, but how can we do that and continue to provide services that people want, when our population is growing and demand for services increases?” she asked.

“How do you balance that? We don’t have oil wells, darnit.”

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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