Time for action — that’s what Jim Cahill says about the housing situation in Whitehorse. The long-time Yukoner who moved here from New Brunswick in 1973 told the News it’s something he’s reading more and more about in the lead-up to the Oct. 18 election.
Cahill announced on Sept. 18 that he is running for a seat on Whitehorse city council. He spoke to the News on Sept. 25.
“People need places to live and we just can’t wait for that perfect time when it comes together and its just going to work out for everybody,” he said. “It’s kind of a basic thing that people need, housing. It’s not an elective.”
While Cahill said he didn’t want to be prescriptive with solutions at this point, he said it’s definitely a “here and now” issue — not something that can be put off and dealt with at a more convenient time.
“We can’t let perfect stand in the way of better as the saying goes,” he said.
There were certainly more options when Cahill moved to the Yukon in the ‘70s to work for Clinton Creek Mine.
Currently living in Granger, he has been in Whitehorse ever since, with the exception of three years when he and his wife moved to British Columbia to care for his wife’s parents.
Now 68, Cahill spent 12 years working in an administrative position with Many Rivers Counselling after finishing at the mine. He’s now retired.
He’s also concerned with animal control bylaws that allow residents to have two dogs and/or cats, up to a maximum of four. He said he’d like to see those rules relaxed so people can have, say, three dogs and one cat.
“As much choice and individuality as possible,” he said.
Cahill also wants to gauge whether or not residents would be in favour of adding fluoride to the drinking water in the city, something he thinks has more benefits than risks.
One of the biggest issues for him though, is representation. He doesn’t know why, in all the talk of federal government reform, there isn’t more talk of municipal reform.
Cahill said he’s in favour of using a ward system rather than the current municipal system, and it’s something he would bring up if elected to council.
He thinks it would reduce the number of special interest groups and large campaign contributors potentially getting involved with municipal politics. He also thinks it would better serve residents.
“With the ward system, you’d satisfy two aspects of democratic participation,” he said. “Representation and electability. But in the meantime you could satisfy the representation part of it by councillors, regardless of where they live, they’re elected to council, they could be assigned to specific neighbourhoods where they would take these neighbourhoods under their wing.”
The last day to register to run for mayor or council is Sept. 27.
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