Regardless of whether or not Cameron Kos wins a seat on Whitehorse city council this fall, he’ll still be showing up for Monday night meetings.
The 43-year-old father of two has been a regular fixture at city council meetings since he moved to Whitehorse almost three years ago.
“I want to know what’s going on in town,” said Kos.
He’s certainly not shy about telling council what he thinks.
“I’ve put my foot in my mouth before. I already know what my toes taste like,” he said. “I have no qualms about speaking out about something but I’ll be the first to stand corrected if I’m wrong.”
An active member of the Porter Creek Community Association, Kos has been happy to bring forward questions and concerns he’s heard from people around town. He has no qualms about having raised the ire of some councillors, he added.
“If people aren’t comfortable coming forward, I’m more than happy to, even times where I don’t agree with what they have to say.”
The city needs to do a better job of listening to its residents, said Kos.
“I don’t think people’s voices are being heard,” he said. “When it comes to the city listening to people, it’s one thing to hear them but it’s another to actually act.”
The city sometimes seems out of touch with what the majority of people want, said Kos. The decision to ban dogs from city-run buildings is a case in point.
Though there have been no complaints about dogs at the Takhini Arena, the city moved ahead with the ban over the strenuous objections of dog handlers and other groups that have used the building as a winter training area for two decades.
“So not only is the city going to lose revenue from this, but they have also offered to pay out money to help these people find a new place,” he said. “Taxpayers are going to take a double hit.”
At times Kos has felt that council was brushing off his own concerns and suggestions.
“We’ve heard time and time again council talking about affordable housing and helping prevent homelessness, yet I’ve twice asked city council to consider a bylaw, like what was enacted in Regina last year, to prevent the condoization of apartments,” he said. “City council told me it wasn’t an issue here, and since … we’ve seen the Sternwheeler Village going condoized, which could potentially end up with more homeless people in town.”
Originally from Saskatchewan, Kos moved to the North in 1991.
He and his wife settled first in Yellowknife, but they had been eyeing Whitehorse for some time.
“I’ve always wanted to live in the wilderness, and you get the best of both worlds here,” he said.
While they lived in the Yukon briefly in the mid ‘90s, commuting back and forth to work in Yellowknife with First Air buddy passes proved too much.
It wasn’t until two and a half years ago that Kos was able to land a job and move to Whitehorse permanently.
His current job as the chief operating officer of the territory’s fleet vehicle agency is just the latest in a long list of positions he’s held with both territorial and federal departments.
“I’ve had the experience to work for everything from Environment, Justice, Health to Education,” he said.
“I’ve covered all the major bases.”
His work in government, as well as his volunteer experience with organizations like Citizens on Patrol and the Community Wellness Coalition in Yellowknife, have prepared him well for a position on council, he said.
“I just want be able to represent people in an official capacity,” said Kos. “I really love the Yukon and the city.”
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