Two more Whitehorse residents have joined the growing list of candidates seeking a seat on city council in the upcoming municipal election.
Both Louis Gagnon and Serge Michaud threw their hats in the ring this week.
Gagnon is a restaurateur and owner of Garlic A GoGo, a food truck serving mostly Mediterranean dishes in the downtown core.
He ran in the 2011 territorial election for the NDP to represent the Whitehorse West district, finishing third behind Cully Robinson and Elaine Taylor.
Gagnon said he’s running because he wants to see change at city council. One way to achieve that, he explained, might be to impose term limits of six or nine years.
“I don’t want to take anything away from the people who are re-elected and what they’ve given to the city,” he said.
“But I think the purpose (of city council) is to foster opportunity and to do that sometimes you have to change things around. Some people lose interest in municipal politics because they think it’s the same old people, the same old song.
“But if you start getting some new blood in there, people from different backgrounds, all of a sudden it’s a bit more interesting.”
If elected, Gagnon said he’d pitch the idea of dividing Whitehorse into wards.
He believes it would benefit residents who don’t know who to contact when they have an issue in their backyard.
Gagnon said he experienced that first hand in 2012, when city officials revoked his permit to serve food weeks after granting him one.
He didn’t know who to turn to, so he wrote to every member of council.
“At the time I was living in Copper Ridge but I had to write to all of them and hope someone would respond,” he said.
“With a ward system, your councillor has to respond, he has to do something about it.”
Gagnon said someone asked him whether he was going to serve shawarmas if he won a seat on city council.
“Maybe I’ll park in front and serve food before the meeting,” he joked.
But that thought triggered another idea for Gagnon.
What if councillors were full-time positions, he asked rhetorically.
“That’s a whole other can of worms,” he said.
“But I always said, if you have a part-time councillor, you’ll get a part-time commitment. If you care about the city and you want more from your councillors maybe that’s something we should consider.”
Serge Michaud has lived in Whitehorse for 16 years. Born in North Bay, Ont. he was raised in Montreal, Que.
He moved to the territory to work for Special Olympics Yukon. In 2012, he was presented the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition for his 23 years of service to the organization.
Michaud said he wants a seat on council so he can work towards keeping Whitehorse safe.
That can be achieved through partnerships with various levels of government and law enforcement, he added.
“I’d consider Whitehorse safe but let’s work to maintain that,” he said.
“I’ve heard a lot of business owners complain about the agonies of shoplifting, petty theft, and vandalism. I don’t have all the answers but what I do have is a willingness to listen and learn.”
Michaud believes his experience with Special Olympics Yukon, in particular when it comes to fiscal responsibility, would benefit him on city council.
“I’ve spent 16 years taking a dime and trying to turn it into a dollar,” he said with a laugh.
Communication is another priority of his. No decisions are ever made without consulting, he said, and the City of Whitehorse needs to do more to get its residents involved in the decision-making process.
If elected, Michaud said he’d be a voice for people on city council.
“I’m not there for myself, I’m there for the residents.”
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