The Whitehorse municipal race is on.
With the Canada Games just five months away, the Games centre leaking money and a dearth of land for residential development, the next batch of politicians will face unique challenges.
Before the deadline passed on Thursday, 12 contenders for Whitehorse council stepped up to the plate. Four are running for mayor and eight for the city’s six council seats.
City councillor Bev Buckway, Ray Kitz and Robert Barry are challenging incumbent mayor Ernie Bourassa, who is seeking a third term.
“Certainly the advantage is that I’m familiar with the major issues facing the city and I’ve tried my best over the past number of years to push the city in a direction that would resolve some of those issues and we’re very close to seeing the fruits of that work,” said Bourassa.
“I’m looking to see to completion the projects we’ve started, like the Canada Games, which are coming on us in just five months, and waterfront development — we’ve taken big strides on that, but there’s still a lot of work to do.”
In 2003, Bourassa beat out three rivals, Sue Edelman, Dee Balsam and Samson Hartland, to take 40 per cent of the vote and the mayor’s chair.
“It’s not that I’m better or worse (than Bourassa), I’m just different,” Buckway said recently.
If elected, she’ll look at making affordable housing available, improving the city’s infrastructure and developing a plan to ride out the lull after the Canada Winter Games.
Kitz was unprepared to talk about his platform on Friday. Barry could not be reached before press time.
Meanwhile four current councillors — Doug Graham, Dave Austin, Jan Stick and Dave Stockdale — and four newbies — Jeanine Myhre, Ron Swizdaryk, Florence Roberts and Brian Eaton — will vie for city council seats.
“We need some continuity, I think there’s much more to be done,” said Austin.
“One thing I’m pushing for is for us as a city to take over all land within our municipal boundaries and let us be the developer — take it out of the (Yukon) government’s hands.
“I don’t think there’s a need for the territory to be involved in land development within city boundaries,” said Austin.
“We need places for people to live, especially young people who want to get out on their own,” said council contender Myhre, 21, who currently works at a print shop.
Myhre put her name in for council after she found out there were only five people vying for the six council seats.
“My understanding is that a lot of people in the city are upset with council and I don’t understand why they’d let everyone get acclaimed,” said Myhre.
“I figured the least I could do was make sure there was an election.”
She also wants to see the city revisit the smoking bylaw and the referendum bylaw — two regulations she says are “unfair” to city residents.
City councillor Mel Stehelin is not seeking re-election.
The ballot order is not official until Monday at noon.
Although no new candidates can sign up, those on the list can withdraw.
The municipal election is October 19th.