Two years after moving back to Whitehorse from Teslin, Kelsey Hassard-Gammel sees the 2021 municipal election as an opportunity to be more involved in her community and make a difference.
Hassard-Gammel is among the 17 candidates running for six councillor positions in the Oct. 21 municipal election.
As her social media page (Kelsey Hassard-Gammel for Whitehorse City Council on Facebook) reads, she is “working for a more affordable and welcoming Whitehorse.”
In a Sept. 27 interview, Hassard-Gammel said the cost of living in Whitehorse as well as access to recreation programs are among the biggest issues she sees facing the city.
Many have noted Whitehorse becoming increasingly expensive in recent years, with housing as one of the biggest costs.
“It’s a big issue,” she said. “It’s not a simple issue.”
At the same time, recreation programs are becoming more difficult for many to access as the city’s population continues to grow. Not only are there the costs for families who might have a child wanting to participate in a program, but many popular programs also fill up so fast it can be difficult to even join when money is available.
Hassard-Gammel believes collaboration could go a long way in helping address both issues. She noted that by working with businesses, organizations and First Nations, new ways of addressing housing and other issues that are taking a toll on residents’ expenses could be found.
“I don’t have all the answers,” she said, adding that when more groups are working together, there’s potential for more solutions to be found.
On the recreation side, Hassard-Gammel has direct experience in seeing exactly what collaborative efforts can do.
In Teslin she worked as a recreation programmer reporting to both the Village of Teslin and the Teslin Tlingit Council after the two governments pooled their resources to ensure there were recreational opportunities in the community.
“They saw how important it (recreation) was,” she said.
Hassard-Gammel moved from Teslin to Whitehorse to get married, with her husband and step-son in the capital city, but she has continued to work in recreation at the Boys and Girls Club Yukon and now as the active living coordinator at the Recreation and Parks Association Yukon, knowing the important role recreation has in communities.
Hassard-Gammel said she’s pleased with the support she’s received so far along the campaign trail as she makes her way to events and neighbourhoods throughout Whitehorse.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org