Wilf Carter plans to challenge Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis for his seat in the upcoming municipal election.
The 64-year-old, who may be best known for his prolific posts in the comments sections of local news websites, is so far the only other person vying for the mayor’s job.
If elected, the former housing director for Champagne and Aishihik First Nations and business development advisor for the Yukon government said he wants to see more transparency at the city.
“I think there’s a lot of stuff that comes out of city hall but the communication flow (to residents) isn’t clear,” he said.
“How decisions are made, and why they’re made, that could be a lot clearer. The city needs a better communications strategy.”
Carter suggested putting out a newsletter, or creating a page on the city’s website where residents could post questions.
And once a month, during a city council meeting, he’d like the opportunity to interact with the public during an open session.
“Right now, unless you’re a delegate, you can’t go in and ask the mayor and council questions,” he said.
“I know the city has its town hall forums but I’d rather have something during a council meeting, so people don’t have to wait to ask their questions.”
Carter’s biggest priority, however, would be working towards cutting the cost of primary services such as water, sewer and garbage for Whitehorse residents. The key to that, he adds, is densification rather than continuing to expand the city into new subdivisions.
That means finding out what city land is available for development and focusing on that first, he added.
“The cost of services has been going up for years and nobody’s done anything about it,” he said.
“There are 500 staff members at the city that know that and I’m sure they all have ideas on how to make it more effective. My whole approach is that the city is one big family and I’d be their family representative for the next three years.”
Originally from Nova Scotia, Carter moved to the Yukon in 1985 to take on a managerial position with NothwesTel.
He’s also worked for Teslin as its chief administrative officer between 1991 and 1995, and as executive director of the Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association in the late 1990s.
Carter said he gained a lot of valuable experiences from those positions, especially how to manage big projects.
One of those was facilitating the construction of a wind farm near Amherst, N.S.
“I’m more of a project manager and that’s why I like the idea of a three-year term, because it’s like a project.”
He said he’s a big promoter of green energy and would like to explore the benefits of installing solar panels on the roof of the Canada Games Centre, to help offset energy costs.
“The big question is how much more would it cost to switch to this type of energy, and are people willing to pay for it?” he said.
“I’d be interested in putting it to a plebiscite.”
Carter said one of his priorities as mayor would also include getting opinions from various professionals in the community, perhaps in the form of an advisory group or think tank.
Moncton, N.B. went through a period of economic hardship in the 1970s and 1980s before a group of people came together and revitalized the community, he said.
Things aren’t as dire in Whitehorse, he was quick to add, but the group could be modeled after the Moncton one so that different people can give their perspective on where the city is headed.
Carter is no stranger to opinions. He admits that his appetite for participating in online discussions comes from frustration with “a whole bunch of things.”
“Some of the people I’ve attacked, and I’ll admit, I was angry, and I realized that it doesn’t do anything for anyone,” he said.
“I try to make it more educational and point out facts. Having all the experience that I have, a whole whack of people asked me why I was wasting my time educating others.”
Health issues have slowed Carter down in the past – he said he had four minor strokes between 2008 and 2013 – but he says he now has a clean bill of health. He’s also adjusted to life with dyslexia, “doing the best I can.”
But the learning disability isn’t something that would get in the way of his duties as mayor, he said.
“Wilf Carter’s agenda and objective is to strictly help the city define where it wants to go, how it wants to get there and how it’ll make the city better.”
The municipal election is on Oct. 15.
Contact Myles Dolphin at