The next municipal councils to be elected throughout the territory could serve four year terms.
The Yukon government announced on Dec. 1 its plans to move forward with changes to the Municipal Act to make council terms one year longer than the current three year terms.
The announcement comes after a survey in September. A What We Heard Report published by the Yukon government shows a total of 62 per cent of 149 people favoured moving to four year terms, while 34 per cent did not. The remaining 3 per cent indicated they weren’t sure.
The survey followed a resolution by the Association of Yukon Communities to request the Yukon government consider extending the council terms before the next civic election in October 2024; and that the association work with the territory to get input from Yukoners about it.
Adding another year to a municipal term could assist councils dealing with major issues around infrastructure, climate change and other matters, AYC president Ted Laking said in a Dec. 1 interview.
He explained that the first year of office for a council member is “a lot of learning” and with that comes a steep learning curve. He compared it to steering a boat, noting that it’s a long time before a boat can be turned.
It’s really only in the second year that the boat can begin to turn and council members know the processes to implement changes they want to see.
By the time the third year rolls around, council members find themselves in election-mode again.
A four-year term, he said, would extend the period that council members can focus on the larger issues.
He also pointed to the cost savings that would come with four-year election cycles compared to the current three-year cycles.
Laking said he’s hopeful this could also mean better results for citizens on municipal matters.
The Yukon government will bring forward changes to the Municipal Act at a future sitting of the legislature.
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