Roslyn Woodcock wants to stick to the facts. The Whitehorse city councillor announced in July she would seek re-election. She told the News on Aug. 14 that she hopes everyone running and attending election-related events this fall wants the same thing.
“The biggest thing for me around the election is my hope is that we have debates and conversations that are based on facts instead of dramatic interpretation by pressure groups,” she said.
“People yelling about an issue doesn’t make a better solution.”
Woodcock said that, in the last three years, she’s found this approach key to speaking with residents.
When people come to her with concerns about the city’s direction on certain issues, she said, as long as the conversation stays focussed on the facts, and they can dig into the details behind the decisions, residents rarely walk away thinking the plan is flat-out stupid. At the very least, she said they can understand what’s informing the decision.
“Most of them go, ‘OK, I see now.’”
Woodcock, who lives downtown and owns two businesses (Plan:write Consulting and Imagine Laserworks), said she understands people are passionate about their communities and they don’t always see the bigger picture. They want to see action taken in their own backyards first.
“It’s hard sometimes to engage and get them to realize no matter what we hear, we have to think about (the city) as a whole.”
Woodcock says she’s not immune to that kind of thinking. Even as someone with a background in city planning, she said she has taken a short-term view of development in the past.
Before her time on council, she didn’t have many positive thoughts about Whistle Bend.
“Now, not even five years later and that place is gorgeous and the people who live up there love it,” she said.
She said that kind of planning is one of the most exciting parts of her job as a councillor, particularly right now.
There are a number of massive plans, she said, including the downtown and Marwell master plans, that tie into the city’s official community plan. She said it’s exciting to see them coming together, and to keep working with city staff, who do take that long view of planning.
She said she can’t guess at what will be the big election issue this fall, the one thing that galvanizes community interests, but housing is definitely a concern.
“Certain people are very interested in the housing stuff, moreso the people who don’t have it,” she said.
She said the city has done a lot of work on housing, most recently in supporting the affordable housing development being built by Challenge Disability Resource Group. She knows it’s still not enough, but she said the city is growing at a “weirdly unprecedented rate.”
“All we can do is keep on trucking.”
Woodcock said she’s not going to poster in advance of the election because she’s an advocate of zero waste. She will instead be out at every event she’s invited to. She’s toying with the idea of an open house. She also said that, while not a ton of people recognize her when she’s out around town, she’s always open to speaking with residents. And she’s been fielding questions from people on Facebook about waste, compost and housing. All of those are issues, Woodcock said, she loves to talk about.
The Whitehorse municipal election takes place Oct. 18. Polling stations will be located all over the city.
Contact Amy Kenny at firstname.lastname@example.org