When Jan Stick opted not to run for Whitehorse city council after serving from 2005 to 2008, she remembers telling a local paper she wasn’t closing the door on municipal politics.
“Well, nine years later, the door’s opened again,” she told the News on Aug. 22, the day after announcing she was running for a council seat this fall.
“I loved it, I really did,” Stick said of previously serving on council.
Stick, who owns Well-Read Books, also has experience as an MLA. In 2011, she won the riding of Riverdale South for the NDP, and served as the official Opposition house leader. She lost her seat to Liberal candidate Tracy-Anne McPhee in the 2016 territorial election.
She said that mix of municipal and territorial experience gives her a good understanding of how responsibilities fall to various branches of government (municipal, territorial and First Nations) and how the three can work together.
“I always remember when I was an MLA knocking on the doors I would hear about municipal issues and it was like ‘ok, that’s great but that’s not me,’” she said, adding that she has a good overview of “what are our responsibilities and what needs to be shared.”
Some of the things she’d like to focus on as a councillor include transportation. She said she’s heard positive feedback from people about the city’s bike lanes and paved trails, but she’s also noticed that the side streets downtown are lined with parked cars.
In addition to parking solutions, she’d like to see Whitehorse transit better serve the city. She recognizes the city’s budgetary limitations, but said she remembers throwing around the idea, last time she was on council, of asking businesses to buy bus passes at half price for their employees. If the Yukon government or Northwestel, for example, did this, it would make a big difference, she said.
She said she’s excited by the prospect of listening to residents and city staff on those and other issues. It’s one of her favourite parts of being a councillor.
“You can’t just go on the objections of a few, but on the other hand, it’s a balancing act.”
She said she has always liked the challenge of hearing various perspectives and trying to figure out the path that was right for the city.
That’s why she’s partnered with city council candidate Steve Roddick. Stick said she’s known Roddick since he was a kid (he grew up down the street from her) and they have a similar perspective in terms of city development and sustainable future planning.
“How do we continue to grow? Because as far as I can tell, we’re going to keep growing. So how do we do that in a mindful and sustainable way without doing the big urban sprawl, which just increases transportation and all of those things,” she said.
She said she’s not worried about splitting votes because she thinks if residents agree with her values or Roddick’s, it’s likely they’ll vote for both of them.
“Steve and I have a lot of the same values and issues that we think are important. I think it’s just a chance for us to bring a united voice to city council.”
Contact Amy Kenny at firstname.lastname@example.org