Mike Travill touts free landfill, more municipal accountability

Mike Travill put his political aspirations on hold for more than a decade as he focused on raising his daughter.

Mike Travill put his political aspirations on hold for more than a decade as he focused on raising his daughter.

Now that she’s old enough, he said, he’s ready to challenge for a seat on Whitehorse city council in the upcoming municipal election.

The small business owner and former workers’ advocate for the Department of Justice wants the city to revise its tipping fees at the landfill.

The fees, which increased from $87 to $94 a tonne earlier this year, should be waived, he argues.

That way more garbage would be ending up where it’s supposed to, instead of in creeks or ditches.

“Being free doesn’t come without costs,” he said.

“But if you compare it to the cost of having to clean up the greenspaces around town, plus the cost of having bylaw officers pursue (wrongdoers). … We should be able to make up some of the savings there.”

Dave Albisser, the city’s manager of water and waste services, estimated it costs between $25,000 to $50,000 to deal with illegal dumping every year in Whitehorse. He’s said in the past he suspects the increase in fees is partially behind the illegal dumping around Whitehorse.

If elected, Travill said he also wants to work on improving the city’s transit system. That means making it more available to people living outside the downtown core.

As it stands, there is no bus service on Sundays, which prevents certain people from getting to church, he said.

“With downtown being revitalized it’s pushing out some of the residents into the suburbs,” he said.

“They have their services and community downtown but they don’t always have vehicles.

“We need more buses, more routes and longer times.”

Travill concedes it would be a huge investment.

But improving the transit system would have a ripple effect on downtown parking, he added, as fewer people would need to use their vehicles.

Another issue he wants to tackle is accountability. He mentioned the city’s plan to spend $56 million over the next three years to build two new headquarters for its staff.

Contracts with the city traditionally run over budget, Travill said, with all kinds of add-ons and missing pieces appearing later in the process.

“In my opinion that’s completely unacceptable,” he said.

“Contractors should be bidding on the full project. And if they aren’t fulfilling their obligations, we should be looking at recouping those costs.

“When we approve a project, it should be coming in on budget and on time, otherwise someone should be held accountable.”

Travill has lived in Whitehorse for the past 17 years. This isn’t his first foray into politics, however.

Travill ran for the leadership of the Yukon New Democratic Party in 2002 before becoming campaign chair for the Yukon Liberal Party in 2006.

He also ran twice for the leadership of the Yukon Employees Union, losing twice.

Contact Myles Dolphin at