Mayor Bev Buckway will hand her gavel to someone else this fall.
Buckway, who over the past few weeks wouldn’t say if she planned to run for a third term in office, now says that it was never likely.
“In 2006, when I sought election as mayor, I said I would seek election one time, and if successful I would seek re-election one time,” she said. “Basically, I made that decision back in 2006, that I wouldn’t be a lifer at this.”
The former barbershop owner and tourism consultant was first elected to Whitehorse city council in 2003.
Her move to municipal politics was something of a “natural progression,” she said.
“I’ve always been involved in a volunteer level with numerous organizations,” said Buckway. “And I always seem to end up on the executive.”
It was the encouragement from friends that spurred her on to run for city council.
“It’s not something you self-proclaim yourself into, I think. It’s more something that your peers say, ‘We want you to do this for us,’ and that was certainly how it happened in my case.”
After one term as a city councillor, Buckway decided to make a run for mayor.
“I just thought that I could probably add something to the role,” she said. “It seemed to be either step up or step out, is how I viewed it at that time.”
In 2006 she defeated the incumbent, then-mayor Ernie Bourassa, by 530 votes. She won a second term three years later, handily defeating challenger Al Fedoriak.
When she got into municipal politics it was governance issues, not political ones, that most interested her.
“I wanted to make a success of the Canada Games Centre and improve the communications with the public,” she said.
While there have been challenges, such as managing the growth of the city, Buckway said she is happy with her tenure as mayor.
“I just hope that it’s viewed that I’ve made a positive contribution to the city,” she said. “If you can go out with your integrity intact, that’s pretty much all you can ask for.”
Right now, Buckway doesn’t have any solid plans for the future, though she does hope to do a little travelling.
“It’s a little bit hard to get some good, solid quality time off in this role,” she said. “I’ve wanted to get back to Australia really bad and just have a chance to connect with some friends over there.”
But she only plans on taking a few weeks off.
“I want to have a break, come back, roll up my sleeves and hop into something else.”
That might not be too difficult.
Since she announced her intentions this week, she’s already had a few job offers.
“I’ve had some discussions on some international work,” she said. “I’m not sure if that will come to fruition, but I now have the ability to examine that at leisure.”
With Buckway officially out of the running, that leaves Rick Karp, the president of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce, as the only person to have announced plans to run for mayor this fall.
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