The race for city council in the Oct. 18 municipal election has gained an 18th candidate.
Darrell Hookey, a Whitehorse businessperson and local writer, is seeking a council seat. He’s also voicing ideas on creating one-way avenues in the city core and changes to how the mayor is elected.
“My term will soon be up as the founding president of the Whistle Bend Community Association,” Hookey said in a statement released this morning.
“But I have been bitten by the bug: I really enjoy working with the board and with my neighbours to make our community even better.
“And it has been an honour to work with the staff and elected officials of the city and territory to make things happen in this new neighbourhood.”
With so much work still to do in growing Whistle Bend, Hookey said, he feels he can bring a sense of history and an understanding of Whistle Benders’ concerns to city hall.
As a freelance writer, Hookey added, he has heard many stories, and has told those stories back to the Yukon and the world.
In 2001, Hookey gave up the life of a freelance writer – and as the manager of the local Sears outlet – to become the founding editor of What’s Up Yukon.
“I hired the first writers and, suddenly, my palette from which to paint the stories of the Yukon was exponentially larger,” he said.
Returning to the retail business, Hookey is now the sales supervisor at The Brick.
In his 28 years in Whitehorse, he has lived in Riverdale, Granger, downtown, Copper Ridge, Takhini North and now Whistle Bend.
Other than a term as president of the Yukon Educational Theatre and as chair of the media relations committee for the Canada Winter Games, Hookey said, he has volunteered wherever and whenever needed.
But, as a potential councillor, he said he hopes to be able to give much more back to the community that has given his family and himself so much.
“I know that there are more hours required than you can imagine, and the reports that need to be read and understood are never-ending, but I really do enjoy helping make all of these moving parts in a city work,” said Hookey.
“To earn the trust of voters, I know that my experience in business, the media, community association and as a husband and father is not enough. My values need to match the values of voters.
“The real question, on Oct. 18, is can I be trusted to make the same decision as Whitehorse residents if we each had the same information in front of us?”
To encourage discussion of city issues, Hookey has set up a Facebook Page – facebook.com/Darrell4Whitehorse – that will be a give-and-take of ideas.
For instance, he is re-opening the discussion to turn Second and Fourth avenues into one-way streets to make room for bus-only and bicycle lanes. And, it would make a park ’n’ ride concept from the Canada Games Centre more feasible.
“Imagine: no more traffic lights at the bottom of Two Mile Hill and no more dangerous left turns across opposing traffic,” he said.
Hookey is also proposing a change to how mayors are elected by asking the Yukon government to amend the Municipal Act to allow the election of seven councillors – with a mayor to be chosen from among them.
Every election risks the losses of excellent potential local politicians because they took a chance on running for the mayoralty, he said.
To encourage more rental properties being developed, and to save tax dollars, Hookey is proposing to limit the city’s development incentives policy to rental units only.
He noted there are programs available for struggling families, and there will soon be a surplus of condos, but no focus on what is really needed: good apartments for rent that cost 30 per cent of a person’s income.
He said he hopes the coming three-week conversation on these issues, and others, will help Whitehorse voters decide if he can accurately represent their wishes on council.
The deadline for nominations is noon Thursday.
Also seeking council seats are incumbent councillors Samson Hartland, Betty Irwin, Roslyn Woodcock, Jocelyn Curteanu and Dan Boyd, former councillors Mike Gladish and Jan Stick, former Yukon Party MLA David Laxton and local residents Eileen Melnychuk, Oshea Jephson, Steve Roddick, Andrew Smith, Cory Adams, Danny Macdonald, Jim Cahill, Scott Etches and Laura Cabott.
The mayoral candidates are incumbent Dan Curtis, Rick Karp and Wilf Carter.
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