Let the campaigning begin

A byelection to replace former Whitehorse councillor Doug Graham hasn't been called yet, but there are two people looking to fill his seat. Cam Kos and Mike Tribes are both taking a run at the job.

A byelection to replace former Whitehorse councillor Doug Graham hasn’t been called yet, but there are two people looking to fill his seat.

Cam Kos and Mike Tribes are both taking a run at the job.

Graham resigned from council last week to take up his new job as a Yukon Party MLA representing Porter Creek North.

The city has seen quite a bit of interest in this byelection, said Norma Felker, the assistant city clerk who will be administrating the election as returning officer.

Eleven nomination packages have been picked up at city hall.

“That is a lot for a byelection,” she said.

Though candidates can’t officially be nominated until November 2, Kos and Tribes have already hit the campaign trail.

So far, it’s been amicable.

Kos and Tribes, who both live on the same street in Porter Creek, even endorsed one another’s nomination packages.

“Mike showed up at my door the other day and asked if I would sign nomination papers for him,” said Kos. “I said, ‘Sure, if you sign mine.’”

Kos, 42, has been interested in municipal politics for awhile.

He sat on the Yellowknife police advisory board and made an unsuccessful run for city council there in the mid ‘90s.

Since moving to Whitehorse 18 months ago to become the chief operating officer for the Yukon government fleet vehicle agency, he’s become a fixture at city council meetings.

As soon as Graham announced he was running in the territorial election, Kos decided to make a bid for council.

“I’d like to get involved in this to make sure that people’s voices are not only heard, but acted upon,” he said. “It’s one thing to listen, it’s another thing to do something about what you hear.”

After informal conversations with neighbours and friends, Kos said there’s a perception the city doesn’t listen to people’s concerns.

Tribes heard similar things while campaigning in the recent territorial election.

He ran against Graham in Porter Creek North.

The 44-year-old IT consultant and landlord is running to “make a difference for Yukoners,” said Tribes.

Having recently organized an election campaign may give him a slight advantage.

“I feel like I’ve already got the momentum built up, he said. I’ve already got a bit of a running start having talked to so many people and got my name out there.”

Both candidates have heard a lot of frustration expressed about city planning, specifically infill.

There’s a need for housing, but the city is not on the right course, they both said.

“The issue that I have with infill is it’s a drop in the bucket,” said Tribes. “In Porter Creek-Crestview there were 19 lots released and there were over 400 applicants – I know some of those are duplicate applicants – but it shows that the 19 lots are insignificant compared to the needs.

Kos agrees.

“It’s not a matter of housing not being available, it’s a matter of either quality housing or affordable housing being available,” he said. “I think we need to work on that issue as opposed to just building more.”

First and second reading of the election bylaw passed Monday, but a byelection won’t be called until council goes through third reading next week.

The election will be held on December 1.

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com

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