Eileen Melnychuk wants to help bring more affordable and sustainable living options to Whitehorse.
She’s hoping to do that as a Whitehorse city councillor.
Melnychuk was one of 17 councillor candidates to submit their nomination papers for the Oct. 21 municipal election in Whitehorse on Sept. 23. Thanks to a draw of candidate names, her name will appear first on the ballot for councillor candidates.
In an interview after she submitted her paperwork and names were drawn, Melnychuk said much of her focus is on affordability and sustainability for Whitehorse residents.
And a big part of that would include working on the housing shortage in the city.
She envisions the city partnering more with other governments — like the territory and First Nations — on initiatives to open up more land for housing as well as looking at ways to encourage the development of rental properties beyond incentives already in place.
Melnychuk, who noted she’s a born and raised Yukoner, volunteers with a number of organizations and has seen the impact of both the housing shortage and increasing costs.
As the president of the Victoria Falkner Women’s Centre, she said the impact is being especially felt by women and single parents, though it is having an impact everywhere. She is also on the board of the Community Thrift Store and has served in a number of capacities for a variety of other organizations over the years.
“The high cost of living is affecting everybody,” she said, pointing out a number of businesses have reduced their operating hours due to a lack of staff as it’s become difficult to recruit employees due to the lack of affordable housing.
Recognizing that some work has been done to address the issues, she said there’s more that can be done and she is looking forward to talking with Whitehorse residents about what those measures might be.
“I think there are tremendous opportunities,” she said.
She said she’d also like to review taxes in the city, pointing out that property taxes continue to rise year after year.
Affordability and sustainability were also issues that continued to come up on the territorial campaign trail in April when Melnychuk ran under the Yukon Party banner in the Whitehorse Centre riding.
While Emily Tredger of the NDP ultimately took the riding, Melnychuk said it was a good opportunity to learn about the issues impacting those in the city.
“I think it’s a really critical election,” she said of the municipal vote.
Melnychuk also ran for a councillor seat in 2018 and under the Liberal banner in the 2016 territorial election in the riding of Porter Creek North. In 2011, she sought a territorial seat under the Yukon Party banner in Takhini-Kopper King.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org