Faro’s council gets the boot

Faro's mayor and council were kicked out of office in last Thursday's municipal election. Incumbent mayor Michelle Vainio, who's been at the helm for three years, received less than a third of the final tally.

Faro’s mayor and council were kicked out of office in last Thursday’s municipal election.

Incumbent mayor Michelle Vainio, who’s been at the helm for three years, received less than a third of the final tally.

Heather Campbell, a justice co-ordinator for the Na-Cho Nyak Dun First Nation, mustered 129 votes to Vainio’s 50.

“I couldn’t get a gas station – what can I say?” said Vainio, who went on to criticize the lack of experience on the new council.

The only two incumbents running for Faro’s four council seats ended up dead last in a seven-person race.

Faro, home to about 400 people, lost its Shell gas station in a fire two years ago.

Faroites now have to fuel up in Ross River, nearly 75 kilometers away.

“I kind of sensed it coming,” said Vainio. “I heard they wanted a gas station.”

“The federal government wasn’t able to do anything about it,” she said.

Vainio blasted the new council for being newbies.

“I’m concerned about (the new council),” she said. “I don’t think the new mayor has picked up a budget.”

“If they haven’t attended council meetings, or picked up budgets and done their homework, then that’s part of the problem,” she said.

“It’s going to be a rough year.”

But voters had plenty of reasons to kick out the old guard, said Campbell.

Tourism in the once-populous mining town isn’t picking up, she said, leaving residents with few sources of income.

The town’s $450-million mine-reclamation plan, announced in February, isn’t popular among voters.

And a human rights inquiry, held last month after a councillor was accused of being racist towards a First Nation man applying for a job, was also an election issue, she said, but refused to comment further.

“It’s going to be a steep learning curve for us,” said Campbell. “None of us know each other.”

Diana Rogerson, Doc Forbes, Mickey Fisher and Michel Dupont were all elected to council, said Faro’s returning officer, Sally Baker.

Forbes is the husband of former Faro mayor Phyllis Forbes, said Campbell.

Contact James Munson at

jamesm@yukon-news.com

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