Jickling envisions a less sprawling city

Peter Jickling wants Whitehorse residents to rely less on their vehicles and more on their legs. The former editor of What's Up Yukon is running for a seat on city council.

Peter Jickling wants Whitehorse residents to rely less on their vehicles and more on their legs.

The former editor of What’s Up Yukon is running for a seat on city council.

If elected, one of his priorities would be to help turn Whitehorse into more of a pedestrian city.

“I want to help reduce our car culture, which is quite prevalent,” the 34-year-old said.

One of his ideas would be to look at closing off a section of the downtown core to traffic during the summer months.

Jickling said he isn’t a big fan of the city’s trend of “knocking down trees every 10 years” and building a brand new subdivision. He wants to encourage more growth in the downtown core, and that means more affordable housing and small businesses.

“Maybe we could take advantage of the vacant lots,” he said.

“I think as more housing is built, it’s natural the prices will go down.”

It’s not just a municipal issue, Jickling said, which is why partnerships with the Yukon government are important.

The city could also do a better job of promoting its tax incentives to prospective developers, he said. For example, the city offers a tax grant of up to $500,000 over 10 years for the development of a downtown building containing at least 25 residential units.

If Jickling wins a seat, he also wants to advocate for people with disabilities.

“I think the city’s done an okay job, and I think the current council was aware of things that needed to be improved, and took steps to achieve that,” he said. He noted that societies using City of Whitehorse land must now agree to review the accessibility issues of their facilities when their lease agreements come up for renewal.

People working in home care have also told him that Whitehorse residents could greatly benefit from a second Handy Bus, Jickling said.

As it stands, there is only one in Whitehorse, and it doesn’t run on Sundays.

That makes it complicated for people who need to schedule same-day appointments, he said.

“That’s not fair, it doesn’t allow people with limited mobility to fully engage with the city,” he added.

Working on climate change issues – despite not being a traditional municipal issue – is also important to him. The city has a responsibility to work towards decreasing its carbon footprint, he said.

According to the city’s website, an estimated 225,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions resulted from on-road transportation in 2011.

Working closer with Cold Climate Innovation at the Yukon Research Centre is an option, Jickling said.

“I’d like to see more of that – I think it would be cool if someone from Whitehorse came up with something that had a big impact in the circumpolar world,” he said.

Born and raised in Whitehorse, Jickling studied philosophy at the University of Lethbridge.

He lived in Edmonton for a while before moving back permanently to Whitehorse in Sept. 2008.

In 2011, his play Syphilis: A Love Story was presented in Whitehorse and also at various fringe festivals around Canada.

Jickling said he’s currently working on a second play.

The municipal election takes place on Oct. 15.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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