Whitehorse needs to be ready for its population to grow, said Mike Gladish.
For this council candidate, that means, among other things, amending the Official Community Plan to speed up cleaning the tank farm site.
“This is where I’d stick my neck out a little bit,” he said.
Gladish and his wife, a high school teacher, live in Valleyview. It’s one of the neighbourhoods most likely to be affected by the project, he said.
Residents are mainly concerned about increased noise and dust and possible exposure to contaminants in dust and soil, he said. As long as all these concerns are addressed, he supports the amendment, he said.
Gladish describes population growth as the “number one” issue for the city. The population boost over the last few years has made finding housing difficult, but he expects the construction of the Whistle Bend subdivision will ease some of these difficulties.
Growth needs to be responsible, said Gladish. He favours building on empty properties in existing neighbourhoods.
But new projects need to be “sensitive” to the neighbourhood’s existing character, said Gladish. For example, the proposal to tear down some of Hillcrest’s Steelox buildings to build townhouses is “a really good idea,” he said. But making them 10 metres high doesn’t fit with the rest of the neighbourhood, he said.
Replacing old water and sewage lines should be a priority, said Gladish. Pipes in older neighbourhoods, like Riverdale and Hillcrest, will likely need to be looked at over the coming years, he said.
And the city needs to look at how to better manage traffic flow, he said.
“I support traffic circles, I think they’re a good way to keep traffic flowing,” he said. But each circle needs to be designed to fit its location.
The city also needs to encourage people to use public transit and support bicycling, he said. The paved bike trails that connect different neighbourhoods have been a good start.
“I think the city’s on the right path,” he said.
Those trails will need to be maintained, he said.
Gladish would also like to see composting increase. In the summer, residential compost pick-up could become weekly instead of biweekly, he said. Increasing the number of times compost is collected may also reduce human-bear interactions within the city, he said.
City council could also do more to boost the number of big winter sporting events hosted here.
“I think of Whitehorse as a winter city,” said Gladish. “And I think we need to embrace that.”
Gladish has been involved with Whitehorse’s Cross Country Ski Club since he moved to the city 30 years ago. For the past 15 years, he’s been the club’s operations manager.
“We’ve got the assets,” he said. “We just need to make sure we support them.”
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