City planning has gone awry in the last decade, says mayoral candidate Al Fedoriak.
“We’re losing a lot of people in the city to Marsh Lake – there’s no other reason for that than for space,” he said.
Subdivision lots in the city have been getting smaller and they’re not conducive to a healthy family environment, Fedoriak said.
He points to fourplexes on the Takhini bluffs as examples of housing lots that are “unsuitable” for raising families.
“It’s so congested, you can almost touch your neighbour’s house. People are living like homing pigeons.”
High-density planning should be reserved for apartments and condominiums downtown, he said.
He proposes putting highrise buildings along the clay cliffs where a lack of sunlight wouldn’t be a concern because structures there are already in shadow.
The cost of purchasing lots in Whitehorse is also something he has issue with.
“Housing costs aren’t unreasonable, but it’s land costs that are,” said Fedoriak.
“Land costs are now determined by market value and, right now, there isn’t any competition out there.”
Young people are being locked out of buying homes because lot prices are so expensive, he said.
Fedoriak has lived in Whitehorse for the last 35 years. He has owned two different bussing companies here, A-Line Buses and Diversified Transit.
His experience in transportation has provided insight into how the city could reorganize its transit services, he said.
Whitehorse’s transit system is important, but “it should be designed for people who want to use it.”
“You can’t make bus riders out of people who don’t want to be.”
He thinks the city should be offering ‘dial-a-bus-service’ to residents who live off of main routes.
Sherwood Park, a suburb of Edmonton, has the most efficient bus service in Western Canada, because they use this “dial-a-bus-service,” said Fedoriak.
In areas where the bus service is incapable of paying for itself, users can phone ahead to get picked up at a particular bus stop.
This, coupled with using smaller buses, would reduce the costs of keeping the service afloat, he said.
“Ironically, the city is creating plans for the Canada Games Centre, which is in direct competition with the private sector, and yet they haven’t created one for the transit system which is costing (taxpayers) a lot of money.”
He believes council currently lacks leadership and direction.
“My experience to date has convinced me that, rather than our elected leaders providing leadership to the administration, we have the mayor and council taking direction from the administration – I’d like to change that,” he said.
Fedoriak is currently retired and focuses much of his energy as regional director of Rotary International.
He’s visited countries like the Philippines, Russia, Africa and Mexico, experiences he says have helped him in working with people of different backgrounds.
So far, Fedoriak is the only person to challenge Bev Buckway, the incumbent.
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