After retiring from a career working in emergency services, workplace safety and safety management planning, Michelle Christensen-Toews is ready to bring her skills to Whitehorse council chambers.
Christensen-Toews is one of 17 candidates running for the six councillor seats up for grabs in the Oct. 21 municipal election.
In an Oct. 6 interview, Toews said after retiring she has the time and commitment to serve on city council.
Over the course of her career Christensen-Toews worked as a paramedic for Yukon EMS and in emergency planning and occupational health and safety management for the Yukon government.
That experience has given Christensen-Toews skills in working with a variety of people to coordinate response in different situations.
“It’s working with all of those different stakeholders,” she said, noting the importance in those roles of putting ego aside to work with others and make the best decisions for the greatest number of people.
Christensen-Toews believes those skills would serve her well as a councillor working for residents of the city she has called home since 1973.
Whitehorse has seen major growth in recent years that can bring challenges, which Christensen-Toews says she is ready to work on as a councillor should she be elected.
She would like to see improvements to city bylaw processes, which she argued can create tension among neighbours.
City bylaw acts on a complaint basis, which can sometimes mean if a complaint is made and bylaw responds residents are left wondering and drawing conclusions about who made the complaint, which can in turn lead to further disputes or bad feelings.
“We don’t need to pit ourselves against our neighbours,” she said.
Christensen-Toews would rather see bylaw take a more proactive role that could begin with education when they see an infraction.
“There can be a proactive side to it,” she said.
Signs to slow down on city streets and addressing snow shoveling on city sidewalks (as a number of residents are forced to walk on roads due to snow not being shoveled on sidewalks), and addressing the noise level of vehicles through neighbourhoods are among some of the issues she’d like to see dealt with more proactively.
Christensen-Toews said she wants to be part of a council that creates policies for more positive interactions.
She also noted she would like to work to address speeding, noting that while the city will need to work with the RCMP on that, it should also be looking at measures it can take as well.
Dealing with wildfire risk is also important to Christensen-Toews, who has outlined her platform on her website (www.votemct.com) and social media pages.
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