Photo by Whitehorse Star
Pictured above: MIKE GLADISH
Photo by Whitehorse Star
Pictured above: MIKE GLADISH
Former city councillor Mike Gladish is aiming to make his way back to city hall and a seat at council’s table in October.
Gladish told the Star this morning he plans to run for council in the Oct. 18 municipal vote.
His announcement comes just about three years after Gladish – who served from 2012 to 2015 – was confirming he would not be seeking a seat for the current term on council.
He has since retired from his former full-time job as manager of the Whitehorse Cross-Country Ski Club, and has the time needed for the council position.
It’s work he remembers as taking a “good 30” hours most weeks during his three years on council.
At times when there were urgent issues to be dealt with, it could be upwards of 40 hours, Gladish said.
“It’s like a part-time job,” he commented.
He added he wants to be upfront with his view that the substantial remuneration increase approved for the next council earlier this year better acknowledges and is more respectful of the work council members do.
Gladish said he believes he has something to offer the city and wants to contribute, especially now that he has more time.
Much of the current council’s work has been continuing efforts started by the previous council, Gladish noted.
Organics collection has expanded and, following a voluntary program, will soon require food service industry and multi-family housing units to participate.
Waste management is an issue Gladish says he wants to see the city keep focusing on and working with the Yukon government on waste management issues for the entire territory.
Working with the territory on that is something that also often came up during Gladish’s past term on council.
While it seems that not a lot of progress has been made on that, he said there may also be things happening behind the scenes he’s not aware of.
“I’m optimistic,” he said, noting that should he gain a seat on council, he would seek to work toward greater efforts on it.
“It has to happen,” Gladish said.
There are other initiatives he wants to see the city work with other governments on.
It’s been good to see the city collaborating more closely with the two local First Nations: Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council, Gladish said, adding he’d like to see those relationships continue to strengthen.
Affordable housing and addressing homelessness are major issues he said he’s pleased to see the city has prioritized and is working with First Nations and the territory on.
It’s also important to make sure the city is following through on actions for municipalities in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 calls to action, Gladish said.
While it’s important for the city to work with other governments on a variety of issues, Gladish also pointed to more specific municipal matters that will require attention in the coming years.
It was during Gladish’s last term on council that the transit system was expanded to include evening service through the week. Since then, ridership has increased significantly.
The current council seems to support continuing efforts to develop the bus service, he said, highlighting the recently adopted transit master plan.
“The new transit plan is very promising,” he said, noting his hope to be part of the decisions around the implementation of the plan.
A transit user himself, he highlighted some of the efforts outlined for the short term.
Improvements to bus stops, for instance, would make the system more welcoming for those waiting at the stops. In some cases, waiting passengers have used their own resourcefulness and added chairs.
Gladish said he’d like to push for initiatives that would make the city more accessible to all.
Better snow-clearing could make it easier for everyone – those with disabilities, pregnant women, the aging population and others – to navigate city streets and sidewalks, he believes.
Gladish has kept busy with a number of community organizations over the last three years. Those include the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition, Yukon Cares and the community greenhouse in Valleyviewa.
Gladish was elected in 2012 with 1,534 votes, taking the sixth and final seat on council for that term.
In February 2016, Gladish announced he would seek the Yukon Liberal Party nomination for the Mountainview riding in the following November’s territorial election.
However, just hours before the August 2016 nomination meeting, Gladish withdrew from the contest to endorse co-candidate Jeanie Dendys. She defeated then-Yukon Party premier Darrell Pasloski and became a member of the Liberal cabinet in December 2016.
As reported in Tuesday’s Star, Roslyn Woodcock is the only councillor to publicly announce plans to seek re-election. She is serving her first term.
Gladish is the first non-council member to publicly express plans to pursue a councillor’s seat in October.
Mayor Dan Curtis and local resident Wilf Carter are the two declared mayoral candidates.
Carter, along with local businessman Mandeep Sidhu, also challenged Curtis in the 2015 election.
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