Former reporter claims Kwanlin Dun chief’s seat

Doris Bill is Kwanlin Dun's new chief. Bill won Wednesday's election with 152 votes, a narrow 13-vote margin over runner-up Jennifer Edzerza, who claimed 139.

Doris Bill is Kwanlin Dun’s new chief.

Bill won Wednesday’s election with 152 votes, a narrow 13-vote margin over runner-up Jennifer Edzerza, who claimed 139.

“I knew it was going to be a tough race, and that Jessica would be my closest rival,” Bill said yesterday after her win was announced.

“In the last election, Jessica ran for a councillor position and won the most votes in that race, so I knew she’d be tough,” Bill said.

Bill comes to the role after more than two decades as a reporter for CBC North in Whitehorse. She retired last April and spent some of the intervening time working as a communications consultant for Kwanlin Dun.

The campaign was a hard one for Bill, made harder by a last-minute complication on voting day when a NorthwesTel technical problem knocked out cellular service for part of Wednesday.

“I’ve covered enough elections to know that you never take anything for granted. When I woke up and our phones weren’t working, we couldn’t talk to each other. I had to run and find a landline, so we were really scrambling,” Bill said.

“We worked hard to get the votes out that we did. There were a lot of people telling me it’s going to be a landslide, but I never thought it would be,” Bill said.

Raymond Sydney finished third with 97 votes and Wayne Jim claimed the remaining 60 ballots.

In all, 448 Kwanlin Dun citizens cast ballots in the election, for a voter turnout of 54 per cent, a slight increase over 2011’s polls.

In the race to fill the council seats, Jessie Dawson claimed the most votes, with 214. Charlene Charlie was only one vote behind her and Alicia Vance finished third with 190. All three held on to their seats from 2011.

Newcomers round out the last three council seats: Howard MacIntosh, Sean Smith and Dennis Calbery.

“I’m really excited about this new council,” Bill said. “I know all of them personally, and they are good, solid people.”

During the campaign, Bill said she knocked on every single door in the McIntyre Village and met with as many KDFN citizens around Whitehorse as she could.

Some of the recurring messages she heard were concerns over inadequate housing, wishes for home ownership and worries about community safety.

“What do we do with dangerous offenders coming back to our community? How do we address that?” Bill said.

These issues will take centre stage for Bill and her new council once they finish the lengthy orientation process required for new chiefs and councillors.

Bill takes over from a government with a strong financial footing. Outgoing chief Rick O’Brien leaves behind a roughly $3 million surplus that Bill said she wants to put to work, starting with looking at the possibility of new infrastructure for the community.

“We’ve outgrown our administration building, and we could use a new elders facility. I don’t know if we’ll be able to do all of that in one three-year term, but we can at least start laying the groundwork.”

That isn’t the only area Bill wants to look at expanding, either.

“Capacity development is a big one. Our economic development branch is doing some great work, but they could really use some more resources, another body or two,” she said.

Kwanlin Dun is the largest landowner in the city of Whitehorse. There was concern in some corners that former chief O’Brien didn’t do enough to maintain ties with the city and with the Yukon government, but Bill said that’s not something she’s worried about.

“I know that O’Brien did meet with city officials from time to time. I can’t say how often, but I’ve spoken to the folks at the city, and they are keen to sit down and talk,” Bill said.

Contact Jesse Winter at

jessew@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dawson City as scene from West Dawson. Art Webster, the vice-chair of the Dawson Regional Planning Commission resigned last month over the Yukon governments unwillingness to pause speculative staking. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Vice-chair resigns from Dawson land-use planning commission

NDP warns that not pausing mining activity is the road to a second Peel decision

Yukon’s clocks will no longer change in March and November but will remain permanently on Pacific Daylight Saving Time. (Courtesy Yukon government)
Off the clock: Yukon prepares to end seasonal time changes

Starting on Nov. 1 Yukon will be one hour ahead of Vancouver and two hours ahead of Alaska

Yukon Child Care Board chair Amy Ryder says the board could be playing a bigger role in childcare policy making if they had more financial support from the Yukon government. (Submitted)
Yukon Child Care Board asks for larger role in annual report

The board is asking for a larger budget to increase outreach and advice

The opening ceremonies of the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg on July 28, 2017. The 2021 Canada Summer Games have officially been rescheduled for Aug. 6 to 21, 2022, exactly one year from the date the national competition was originally set to take place in the Niagara region of Ontario. (Canada Summer Games/Flickr)
Canada Summer Games dates set for 2022 but uncertainty remains for Yukon athletes

Yukon athletes continue waiting to get back into schools

The Many Rivers Counselling and Support Services building in Whitehorse on March 28, 2019. The Yukon RCMP has been investigating the finances of the defunct Many Rivers Counselling and Support Services since February, undertaking a forensic audit as it delves into the former mental health NGO’s affairs. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Many Rivers has been under Yukon RCMP investigation, forensic audit since February

Premier Sandy Silver first hinted at police involvement in the legislative assembly Oct. 13

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3 hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council passed first reading on a bylaw for the designation change at its Oct. 26 meeting, prompting an upcoming public hearing on Nov. 23 ahead of second reading on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Local contractors will be given an advantage on a contract for the design and construction services that will see a new reception building at Robert Service Campground decided city councillors during the Oct. 26 council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local firms will get advantage on contract for new Robert Service Campground building

Yukon-based companies competing for contract for new reception building will receive 20 extra points

Fallen trees due to strong winds are seen leaning on to power lines which caused some power outages around the territory on Oct. 26. (Courtesy of ATCO)
Wind knocks out power around the Yukon

High winds on Oct. 26 knocked out power to Faro, parts of Whitehorse and beyond

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging the reduction of its caribou quota to zero. (Yukon News file)
YG replies to outfitter’s legal challenge over caribou quota

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging… Continue reading

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this year, saying that with COVID-19, it’s “more important than ever.” (Black Press file)
Get flu vaccine, Yukon government urges

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read