Jenkins calls it quits

After more than 30 years in politics, Dawson City Mayor Peter Jenkins says he’s retiring and will not run again when municipal elections are held in October. “This is probably my last term in office – unless someone really pisses me off.”

DAWSON CITY

After more than 30 years in politics, Dawson City Mayor Peter Jenkins says he’s retiring and will not run again when municipal elections are held in October.

“This is probably my last term in office – unless someone really pisses me off,” the long-time mayor and territorial politician said during his opening remarks at the 37th annual Association of Yukon Communities meeting Friday.

Jenkins refused to field questions about his decision not to run again.

When asked whether it was the end of an era, he simply said: “No it isn’t, it’s the start of a new one.”

Gesturing to others around the Tr’ondek Hwech’in Hall, Jenkins said it is time for the “young guys” to take over.

In between terms as mayor, Jenkins served as a Yukon Party MLA from 1996 to 2006, holding posts as Health and Environment minister and deputy premier.

In the 2000 election, Jenkins was the only Yukon Party MLA to keep his seat. He was joined by NDP MLA Dennis Fentie in 2002 when Fentie crossed the floor and then took over as leader of the Yukon Party.

Jenkins, who also owns the Eldorado Hotel, resigned under Fentie in 2005 when he was forced to either repay his company’s government loan of more than $300,000 or quit.

He sat as an independent until the end of that term and did not run again in 2006.

In the 2009 municipal election, he returned to municipal politics, beating out incumbent John Steins by seven votes for the mayor’s job. He had previously been mayor from 1980 to 1994.

Meanwhile the Association of Yukon Communities is also undergoing a change in leadership.

Carmacks Mayor Elaine Wyatt replaced Whitehorse Mayor Bev Buckway as AYC president, a position Buckway had held for two terms.

Buckway would not confirm whether she will be seeking another term as Whitehorse mayor but she will end her term as chair of the Northern Forum for the Association of Canadian Municipalities this year, she said.

It is a position that reflects the importance the Yukon has on the national association, said president Barry Vrbanovic, who was at the Dawson meeting.

The Yukon is one of only two regions across Canada that has every one of its municipalities holding a membership in the national association.

That presence, in turn, helps make sure federal agreements reflect a northern perspective, said Vrbanovic.

The federal association is currently working on drafting a new funding agreement with Ottawa for infrastructure.

The old arrangement, the Building Canada Fund, ends in March 2014. It was money well spent in the territory, according to most municipal officials. It helped pay for things like sewer lines in Faro and road improvements in Teslin.

Water and waste management topped the lists of accomplishments and concerns during the community reports on the weekend.

Municipal officials also offered updates on their official community plans.

Dawson City is hoping to push a new draft of its plan through before October’s municipal elections.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at roxannes@yukon-news.com