Second time’s the charm for Berrel

Pat Berrel might be retired, but that doesn't mean that he's stopped working.

Pat Berrel might be retired, but that doesn’t mean that he’s stopped working.

The 61-year-old former principal works for number of committees and organizations, but now he wants to add another position to the list: Whitehorse city councillor.

“I’d like to be able to be part of the change and work with a team to create what I think is one of the best cities in the world,” he said. “(Whitehorse) is a beautiful place to live, but right now it is very difficult.”

The shortage of rental housing hurts local businesses, which have trouble finding and keeping employees, and the city as a whole.

“These are our kids that can’t come back here unless they’re living with their parents, because they can’t afford to rent or unless they’ve got six or seven people living in the small place,” he said. “That’s wrong. We have to change it, one way or another.”

His own son, who at 23 is still living at home because he can’t find a place on his own, is about to leave for school in B.C.

“He’s thinking that he’s just going to stay down south because (the housing situation) here is just too abusive.”

Working closely with city managers, as the chair of the city’s Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee, has given Berrel confidence in the city’s ability to solve the housing issue.

“I’m really impressed with the level of professionalism and the quality of the people that sit around that table,” he said.

But the city can’t do it alone. To solve that problem is going to take all levels of government, federal territorial, First Nation and municipal, to do it, he said.

“If we bring all of those powers together to problem-solve, then I think we have a chance.”

He is well suited to such a dialogue, said Berrel.

“Anybody who knows me knows I’m tenacious.”

While Berrel supports development in general, and applauds the city’s commitment to infilling existing neighbourhoods, he remains adamantly opposed to developing the Porter Creek D subdivision near McIntyre Creek.

“That’s not going to be affordable housing,” he said. “If you want to develop Porter Creek D, don’t vote for me, because I will vote against it.”

Originally from France, Berrel came to Canada as a young child after his widowed mother married a Canadian soldier.

He lived all over the country but settled in Manitoba, where he worked as an educator for 22 years.

With two young children in tow, Berrel and his wife moved to Whitehorse in 1989 where he took a job as principal of Whitehorse Elementary School.

Both the school and the territory were a natural fit, he said.

The city could do a better job of promoting itself as a tourist destination abroad, said Berrel.

With direct flights from Frankfurt, Whitehorse has been successful at bringing in German tourists, but there is an untapped market just next door in Northern France, said Berrel.

The city should create a partnership with the tourism section of l’Association franco-yukonnaise, he said.

“They’re ready to go,” said Berrel. “I know the community. I could create some interesting liaisons with the community to create that kind of partnership.”

This is the second time that Berrel has run for city council. He made an unsuccessful bid in the byelection last year, coming in sixth place.

With all six council seats up for grabs this year, Berrel is hopeful about his prospects this time around.

But whether he wins or loses, Berrel is committed to making

Whitehorse a better place to live.

“I love this place,” he said. “I’ve been here for 20 years. I’m now retired, but I’m not going to Victoria or Vancouver, I’m staying here.”

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

X
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for June 16, 2021.… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Yukon News file)
COVID-19 outbreak surges to 50 active cases in the Yukon

Officials urge Yukoners to continue following guidelines, get vaccinated

Team Yukon during the 2007 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse. (Submitted/Sport Yukon)
Whitehorse will bid for 2027 Canada Winter Games

Bid would be submitted in July 2022

File Photo
The overdose crisis, largely driven by synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and carfentanil was the topic of an online discussion hosted by Blood Ties Four Directions Centre and the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition on June 8 and 10.
Discussion of overdose crisis in Yukon leaves participants hopeful for future

The forum brought together people including some with personal drug use and addiction experience.

The Yukon has confirmed 33 active COVID-19 cases on June 15. (file photo)
Two participants cross the finish line at the City of Whitehorse Kids Triathlon on June 12 with Mayor Dan Curtis on hand to present medals. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
2021 Kids’ Triathlon draws 76 young athletes

Youth ages five to 14 swim, run and bike their way to finish line

Lily Witten performs her Canadian Nationals beam routine on June 14. John Tonin/Yukon News
Three Yukon gymnasts break 20-year Nationals absence

Bianca Berko-Malvasio, Maude Molgat and Lily Witten competed at the Canadian Nationals – the first time in 20 years the Yukon’s been represented at the meet

For the second year running, the Yukon Quest will not have 1,000 mile race. Crystal Schick/Yukon News
The Yukon Quest will be two shorter distance events instead of a 1,000 mile race

After receiving musher feeback, the Yukon Quest Joint Board of Directors to hold two shorter distances races instead of going forward with the 1,000 mile distance

Western and Northern premiers met this week to discuss joint issues. (Joe Savikataaq/Twitter)
Premiers meet at Northern Premiers’ Forum and Western Premiers’ Conference

Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq virtually hosted both meetings this year

The sun sets over Iqaluit on Oct. 26, 2020. Nunavut’s chief public health officer says two COVID-19 cases at Iqaluit’s middle school came from household transmission and the risk to other students is low. (Emma Tranter/Canadian Press)
Iqaluit school’s contacts and classmates cleared after two COVID-19 cases

With an outbreak ongoing in Iqaluit, the Aqsarniit middle school has split students into two groups

An extended range impact weapon is a “less lethal” option that fires sponge or silicon-tipped rounds, according to RCMP. (File photo)
Whitehorse RCMP under investigation for use of “less lethal” projectile weapon during arrest

Police used the weapon to subdue a hatchet-wielding woman on June 4

Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press
Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents.
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

The move comes in response to a call to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015

Teslin Lake is one of two bodies of water the Yukon Government has place on flood watch. (Google Maps Image)
Flood watch issued for Teslin Lake, Yukon River at Carmacks

The bodies of water may soon burst their banks due to melting snow and rainfall

Most Read