Landlord looks for council seat

Mike Tribes is at it again. The local landlord and computer consultant ran in the last territorial election under the New Democrats' banner. He also tried for the empty spot Doug Graham left on Whitehorse's city council.

Mike Tribes is at it again.

The local landlord and computer consultant ran in the last territorial election under the New Democrats’ banner. He also tried for the empty spot Doug Graham left on Whitehorse’s city council in the byelection that followed.

Now, Tribes has put his name into the hat again for a spot on the capital’s council.

“I just feel like I want to give back to my community,” he said. “I want to put some work towards making the community a place where me and my kids want to live and continue to live.”

Tribes spoke on Tuesday as he was en route to his best friend’s wedding in the tropics. The trip means he’s had to curtail his campaigning.

But his ideas for council have been shaping for quite some time. First and foremost, he wants to see McIntyre Creek protected and designated as a park.

Housing needs will be met by the Whistle Bend subdivision, he said. And the proposed Porter Creek D development, planned near the creek, won’t do anything to meet the needs of affordable housing, he added.

To create more affordable housing, the city and territory must work together, said Tribes.

“I know it’s mostly a territorial issue but I think we can still work with the territory to help with some kind of solution,” he said.

While that solution may not be simple, the problems causing the housing crunch are pretty obvious to Tribes, a long-time landlord.

“The rental market is overpriced, as well as the housing market,” he said. “They’re tied together – the more expensive a house is to buy, the more expensive it is for landlords to finance it, then they have to pass the cost on so then the rents go up. I see having a bit more of an inventory of housing available as part of the solution.”

Increasing the overall inventory is exactly why Tribes views the trend of turning rental units into condominiums as a “double-edged sword.”

The fact that more affordable condominiums are being put on the market is a good thing, he said. The fact that they tend to be converted from existing rental units in town is the bad part, he added.

“It’s not a simple thing,” he said of the capital’s housing problem. If it were, “it would have been solved by now.”

Even lowering property taxes won’t offer a quick fix, said Tribes.

“When I look at the costs of owning a rental property, property tax isn’t one of the big ones,” he said. “I don’t see property taxes as having a huge impact on rental rates. I don’t see just being able to cut property tax as being a solution. We have to balance the budget as well. I can’t promise that we can cut property taxes without knowing what we have for expenses.”

Balancing the books is another priority for Tribes.

“It’s more about spending money wisely rather than arbitrarily cutting taxes or cutting services. Getting a balance for the money that we’re spending is more important for me,” he said.

For example, Tribes wants to see more money spent on the city’s transit system. Calls from students for better, longer bus service, should be met, he said.

Tribes is joined by 21 other candidates vying for a seat on city council. Municipal elections across the territory will be held on October 18.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

roxannes@yukon-news.com

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