Former senior manager running for Whitehorse city council

Robert Fendrick, the former director of corporate services for the City of Whitehorse, has announced he's running for a seat on city council.

Robert Fendrick, the former director of corporate services for the City of Whitehorse, has announced he’s running for a seat on city council.

The 58-year-old said he has the right amount of experience in community politics and administration to be a councillor.

“I know exactly what I’m doing when I’m at the council table,” he said.

“I’m eager to work in partnership with other council members to bring programs and services to the citizens of Whitehorse.”

Fendrick and Brian Crist, the city’s former director of infrastructure and operations, were fired in March without cause.

At the time, Whitehorse City Manager Christine Smith said she couldn’t provide the reason because it was a “personnel matter.”

If elected, Fendrick said he doesn’t see “any difficulty there whatsoever” when it comes to working alongside Smith.

“All the men and women who work at the city are high-calibre people, it’s a great place to work,” Fendrick said.

“Council works with the city manager. My vision is strictly for the good of the community.

“This is where I can give back as a councillor, and if people want to take advantage of my experience then I encourage them to elect me.”

Smith echoed Fendrick’s feelings.

“He is a very professional person. I see no problems,” she wrote in an e-mail.

If elected, Fendrick wants city council to do a better job of promoting Yukon Housing’s Municipal Matching Rental Construction Program to prospective developers.

The Yukon government partners with municipalities to offer one-time capital grants up to $500,000 for eligible projects to help increase the amount of rental housing in the territory.

For proponents to be eligible for the grant, they have to be approved for a development incentive program administered by a Yukon municipality.

The City of Whitehorse offers its own incentives for developers building rental units. The development incentive policy offers a maximum of $500,000 in tax incentives over 10 years if a building has at least 10 rental units.

“I can visualize a building with six or eight small suites in it,” Fendrick said.

“It’s not something cities would normally get into, but it’s a special project and I’d like to see the initiative taken. There’s a real affordable housing issue right now.

“Not enough is being done about it in my mind.”

The Yukon government has set aside $1 million for approved projects in 2015-16 and $2.5 million for projects in 2016-2017, according to the Yukon Housing website. Fendrick said he also believes in maintaining the city’s recreation facilities, especially the Canada Games Centre, the Millennium Trail and Mount Sima.

“I’d like to see them get the attention they deserve,” he said.

“I believe the Millennium Trail should be plowed all winter. Right now it’s not accessible to everybody.”

Establishing asset management programs would be one of his priorities, he said, to help determine what needs to be upgraded at those facilities and what it would cost. The Canada Games Centre, for example, could benefit from having the flooring on the main concourse replaced, he added.

“These are all things I know how to help manage and budget for,” he said.

Born in the Northwest Territories and raised in Whitehorse, Fendrick began his career with BC Hydro in 1982.

After several years he founded his own computer company, which employed 20 people.

He returned to Whitehorse in 1998 and was hired to work for the city the following year.

He also holds a master’s degree in public administration.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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