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Whitehorse council members set out plans for fall election

Roddick, Stick won’t seek re-election
Jan Stick, left, and Steve Roddick share a laugh as the 2018 election results roll in at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. Both councillors have said they will not seek re-election in the fall. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Whitehorse voters are guaranteed at least four new faces on Whitehorse city council after the Oct. 21 election, as more current members confirm their plans for the fall vote.

While Coun. Dan Boyd said Aug. 12 that he will seek a fifth term as a city councillor, both councillors Steve Roddick and Jan Stick have stated they will not run.

Meanwhile, Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu said in an Aug. 11 interview she is still considering whether she will seek a fourth term on council.

Another two councillors - Laura Cabott and Samson Hartland — have each begun their campaigns for the mayor’s chair along with long-time Whitehorse resident Patti Balsillie.

Mayor Dan Curtis, meanwhile, announced previously he will not be running for another term.

Mellisa Murray has been the only person not on council who’s announced plans to seek one of six councillors seats.

In an interview, Boyd said keeping some continuity on council is among a number of reasons he’s running for another term.

Boyd has long been interested in the community and quality of life for residents in Whitehorse, he said. That’s one of the reasons he said he served two terms on council in the 1990s and during this current stint as a councillor that began in 2015.

“I enjoy the work,” he said.

Looking ahead to the 2021 to 2024 term, Boyd cited the city’s Official Community Plan as a major piece of work to complete. COVID-19 delayed the process and it is now in the third of four phases to get to the draft.

“Getting that OCP in place is really important,” Boyd said. “It’s critically important.”

The OCP serves as a guiding document for all city planning and sets a 20-year vision for the city.

A review of the zoning bylaw will follow the OCP, Boyd said.

Meanwhile, the continued work to consolidate city buildings will continue with the building on a new and renovated city hall, the demolition of the municipal services building on Fourth Avenue which will open up land for potential development and more.

Affordable housing also continues to be a major issue and Boyd expects efforts on that front to continue.

“It’s a struggle,” Boyd said.

The possibility of hosting the 2027 Canada Winter Games will also impact the 2021 to 2023 term with work on the bid now underway.

Boyd said while a number of facilities in the city are built that could be venues for Games’ events (many that were built for the 2007 Canada Winter Games), work will be needed for upgrades and changes.

The athlete’s village will also have to be considered. During the 2007 Games, the athletes’ village constructed at the Yukon University (then Yukon College) campus now serves as student and senior’s housing.

Boyd also noted continued work to address climate change will impact future city councils as well.

While Boyd sets his sights on running again, Roddick and Stick both said they are ready to move on to other things.

Stick was first elected to council during a by-election in 2005 before the general election a year later saw voters send her back to council.

Following her first stint as a councillor, she would go on to be elected to the territorial legislature as the NDP MLA for Riverdale South.

In 2018, returned to city hall as a councillor.

Stick said she’s ready to focus on other things.

Meanwhile, Roddick, who is serving his first term on council, said in a statement that stepping back from council “will allow me to step toward the new and nourishing experiences I need to fight for my values and beliefs over the years to come.”

In a follow-up email, Roddick said he will take some time to explore opportunities before deciding on his next step.

In his statement, which he posted to social media, he said fighting for “a more equitable, sustainable and just society” requires renewal and strong, diverse voices. He said he would support candidates committed to tangible action, citing Murray as one of those candidates.

Roddick also said that leading up to the Oct. 21 vote, he will continue to bring the energy and diligence that he’s brought to the role since being elected in 2018.

In his time on council, he said he’s been able to raise issues and voice perspectives important to the future of the city.

“Some of my contributions to council debates led to clear short-term outcomes — the climate emergency declaration and council’s decision to make environmental stewardship a strategic priority, for example,” he said.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Stephanie Waddell

About the Author: Stephanie Waddell

I joined Black Press in 2019 as a reporter for the Yukon News, becoming editor in February 2023.
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