After almost 30 years as a Whitehorse city councillor, Dave Stockdale has a lot of accomplishments to talk about.
From the revamping of Main Street to the construction of the Canada Games Centre, there are few things that he didn’t have some part in.
“I have to take a little credit,” said the 71-year-old with a smile.
But he can’t take it all.
“When the city gets voted the best city in Canada out of this size to live in then there has to be some credit given to the administration, the council and to people that have planned the community,” he said.
Of his 10 consecutive terms on council, the last one has been by far the most productive, he said.
Over the last few years, the city has seen a considerable amount of legislation passed, including a major rewrite of the city’s zoning bylaws and updating the city’s Official Community Plan.
“We’re going along a path, we’ve got definite plans in place and now we’re implementing the things that we have passed in this term and I’m curious to see how and where things will lead,” he said.
It’s the same thing that motivated him to run back in 1983.
“I was just interested, more than anything else,” he said. “That’s what keeps me in there, is my interest in public affairs.
“It’s not a burning desire to be a public servant or anything, I just find I like dealing with these problems and I think I have a pretty good handle on things, if I get enough information.”
Originally from England, Stockdale came to Canada in 1968 to teach.
“I saw this ad in the newspaper that said, ‘Come to the land of the moose, the mighty Athabasca River,’ and at the very bottom of the ad in black letters it said, ‘no weaklings need apply.’
“Well I was 25, 26 I was just in that macho-type era and what I wanted was the challenge.”
He had a romantic, even naive, notion of what the North world be like.
“My image of Canada was the ice and the snow and living in a log cabin, all that type of thing.”
Stockdale spent two years teaching in northern Alberta where he met his future wife. When she decided to move to the Yukon, he decided to come with her and asked her to marry him.
They raised two children in Whitehorse and built a house in Riverdale.
It was his wife’s support that Stockdale credits for giving him the time and flexibility to work as a city councillor for so long.
Whitehorse has changed a lot over the years, said Stockdale, but some things remain the same.
“The opportunities here are tremendous,” he said. “I think most people would say that the opportunities here are still great.”
Not that there aren’t still challenges.
Housing is still a big issue, but with the city offering development incentives, the economy slowing down a bit, and the territory and the city working together through the development protocol, things seem to be on the right track, he said.
Over the next few years, the city needs to start looking at more creative ways to raise revenue, said Stockdale.
He’d like to see some consideration given to putting in a hotel tax similar to the one in New Brunswick.
Stockdale has been on council longer than anyone else, which gives him a unique role to play, he said.
“When I looked at it, a new mayor, a new city manger and two or three new councilors, I thought there ought to be some kind of continuity,” said Stockdale. “I think I have a contribution to make in that sense.
“I have got the corporate memory and I do have recollections of things we’ve done in the past and know how these things evolved.”
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