Whitehorse city councillor Laura Cabott is looking to trade in her councillor chair for the mayor’s seat at city hall.
Cabott has announced her plans to run for mayor in the Oct. 21 municipal election.
Cabott launched her Laura Cabott for Mayor Facebook page on May 25, along with a number of other social media accounts and a website around the campaign.
“Whitehorse is a vibrant, energetic place, and I want to make it even better,” she said. “I have the vision, the leadership skills and the background to do just that.”
In a May 27 interview, Cabott pointed to her nearly three years as a councillor along with a number of leadership roles.
“I’ve got the energy and the interest,” she said.
While the mayor has one vote on matters at city council, just as other councillors do, Cabott sees the full-time position as a leadership role.
She noted that should she be elected as the city’s next mayor, she would like to share opportunities with other councillors on things like public speaking appearances. That would provide more time for her as mayor to do the “behind-the-scenes” work.
That could include working on opportunities for more partnerships with the RCMP on issues like traffic; Yukon University on student housing issues and attracting more students; as well as First Nations governments on a range of issues impacting all.
“Working with other governments and key stakeholders, I want to tackle the housing shortage, grow our local economy and tourism sector and respond to the challenges of climate change,” she said, highlighting her role in chairing a number of boards and committees, working with First Nations and volunteering.
“I enjoy working with people to find practical solutions,” Cabott said. “I want to make a real difference.”
Acknowledging housing continues to be a major issue in Whitehorse, Cabott said, “the status quo is not working” and negative impacts can be seen in the level of homelessness, affordability for residents and businesses being able to attract employees.
She would look at changes to the development incentives program and push for the city’s updated Official Community Plan, which serves as a guiding document for planning throughout the city, to be done within six months of the new council taking office.
Cabott would also like to look into whether the city could install utility services for new developments with developers paying back the cost over a period of time as a way of potentially getting more developments off the ground.
She said she would also work toward hosting a charette or similar process that would bring in other governments and stakeholders to get a clear understanding and work on solutions.
No one entity is going to solve the issue, she said.
“We need to do this together,” Cabott said.
Cabott highlighted work done over her first term as a councillor, including a new procurement policy and ensuring local content in many of the city’s requests for proposals. Efforts are underway to modernize the city’s transit system as well as parking meter technology, and there’s been improved wildland fire response and emergency preparedness, work to add higher density housing in various parts of town, upgrading infrastructure and making sure wilderness, trails and recreational areas are maintained, she said.
A lawyer with her firm Cabott & Cabott, Cabott has also owned a number of businesses in Whitehorse during her nearly 30 years living in the territory.
She is also chair of the Yukon Environmental Socio-economic Assessment Board and has volunteered with a variety of local organizations.
In the 2018 municipal vote, she won her council seat with 2,752 votes in her favour, placing third for one of six positions of councillor. A total of 21 sought councillor positions in that election.
Cabott is the third resident to announce their intention to run for Whitehorse mayor in the October vote with Patti Basillie and another city councillor, Samson Hartland, also stating their intentions to seek the mayoralty.
Mayor Dan Curtis has said he will not seek another term as mayor.
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