Mike Gladish might be running for city council in 2018, but he’s already looking ahead to 2038.
“There’s an obvious growth … the population in Whitehorse is approaching or has approached 30,000, so there’s a need to plan for that to make sure there are enough housing lots available each year.”
“Council and staff are doing a good job, but I think we have to look at 10, to 20, to 30 years and make sure that we’re all thinking about the next area that can be developed for housing. We can’t think that Whistle Bend is going to satisfy all the housing needs for the next 10 years.”
Gladish, who announced his candidacy in July, previously served as a councillor from 2012 to 2015. He didn’t seek re-election after that term. He told the News on Aug. 21 that the time commitment was more than expected.
Between two or three CASMs — meetings between council and senior management — a week, and four-hour meetings about land use and Mount Sima, he said he was putting in close to 30 hours a week. At the same time, he was acting as manager of the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club.
He’s since retired (and in the 2016 territorial election, ran for the Liberals in the Mountainview riding.) Gladish said he has more hours in his day. As well, he said the rate of compensation for a councillor has been raised, from $20,496 to $36,036.
Gladish said his previous experience as a councillor will help because he knows the ins and outs of the meetings. He knows the procedures. He knows how to bring motions forward. He said the purpose of council is to make policy decisions that affect Whitehorse over the long term, though he’s aware of how easy it is to get caught up in single-agenda items.
That’s why he said he would focus on water and sewer infrastructure, both of which he said need to be overhauled for the next generation.
He’s also focused on waste diversion and the Safe at Home plan to prevent homelessness.
“Before Safe at Home, we had the Vulnerable Persons Initiative,” he said. “Kwanlin Dün started that ball rolling.”
In fact, said Gladish, strong relationships with the First Nations have been key to council improvements. He’d like to see various levels of government (municipal, territorial, Kwanlin Dün First Nation, and Ta’an Kwäch’än Council) continue to work together, particularly when it comes to housing.
He also said he thinks the city needs to incorporate the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into regular operations, in order to maintain a good working relationship with First Nations governments.
“I think we have to look at those (recommendations) every so often and make sure we’re making progress.”
“I think the first and biggest step is to have regular meetings,” he said. “I know the mayor meets regularly with the chief and would support that continuing.”
At this point, Gladish said he hasn’t heard much from people in terms of concerns. There have been a few people who have approached him about neighbourhood-specific things, mostly trail-related, but he’s going to start door-knocking in September.
Contact Amy Kenny at firstname.lastname@example.org