Race for city council begins

Conrad Tiedeman is looking to give back to his hometown. It's the reason the 22-year-old Whitehorse resident is running for city council.

Conrad Tiedeman is looking to give back to his hometown.

It’s the reason the 22-year-old Whitehorse resident is running for city council.

“I’m not a wealthy philanthropist, so civic service is one of the few ways I can see myself giving back,” he said.

With municipal elections still three months away, Tiedeman is the first candidate to announce his intention to run for a seat on city council. There is already one announced mayoral candidate, Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce president Rick Karp.

Getting into municipal politics is something that Tiedeman has been thinking about for a while.

“I want to help this city become greater than what it already is,” said Tiedeman.

For starters, he wants to see improvements to both downtown parking and the city’s transit service.

Currently, buses don’t run frequently enough to make them convenient for most people, said Tiedeman.

“You either get to work an hour early or an hour late,” he said. “On Friday, you can barely make the late show.”

Even having one line running later to Yukon College would be a good start, said Conrad. “The college has potential to be an economic driver for the city,” he said.

The housing shortage is another issue that he wants to work on.

With Whistle Bend coming online this fall, development of the old tank farm in the works and planning for Porter Creek D getting underway, the city is moving in the right direction, said Tiedeman. But it can still do more.

He’d like to see the city consult with developers, and look at rolling back some building requirements for things like energy efficiency, which he said are driving up housing costs.

Tiedeman just recently returned to the territory after graduating from King’s University College in Edmonton, with a bachelor’s degree in politics, history and economics.

While he doesn’t have any experience in municipal politics, Tiedeman has been involved in both federal and territorial election campaigns. As a student, Tiedeman interned with the federal Conservative party.

At the moment he works as an on-call researcher for MP Ryan Leef’s office, and in his spare time he’s helping to start a magazine.

When the Midnight Sun News launches later this summer, Tiedeman will work as both its spokesperson and as a contributing editor. “It’s more of a centre-right news magazine,” he said.

For the last few weeks, Tiedeman has sat in on city council meetings and spoken with councillors about what the job entails.

“It hasn’t turned me off,” he said. “If anything it’s made me more excited.”

And while he may not have a lot of experience, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, said Tiedeman.

“I’m young, I’m new,” he said. “This council’s had their time, and now it’s time to get fresh ideas, a fresh perspective.

“The statement may sound corny, but you can never truly be prepared for city council. You can’t pick up a book and become an expert on city council.”

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