Photo by Whitehorse Star
Photo by Whitehorse Star
Betty Irwin says she’s ready to continue her work as a city councillor, announcing this morning her plans to seek re-election in the Oct. 18 municipal vote.
“I enjoy being on council,” Irwin said.
She highlighted her plans, if re-elected, to “continue to advocate for laws, policies and plans which will meet the desires and needs of all the citizens and be a part of one team with a common goal of building and maintaining the best place in the world in which to live.”
Irwin said she had been considering whether to seek another term on council for several months, deciding about a week ago that she would pursue a fourth term.
While she’s excited at the prospect of another term on council, she said, running for mayor never crossed her mind.
She noted the mayor’s role often involves a lot more of the publicity - being the face of the city – than that of a councillor. It’s also a much busier schedule that involves showing up for many events over the course of a week.
Irwin said she enjoys the work of a councillor and wants to continue that.
“I believe that city council has three top jobs: (1) shaping and re-shaping the city into being the kind of city in which citizens want to live, play and work; (2) delivering quality public services at affordable prices; and (3) making the financial decisions which will accomplish the first two,” she noted.
“Everything else is just a subset of those three objectives.”
While individual issues may fall under those three major jobs of council, Irwin said she’s expecting the update of the city’s Official Community Plan will be a major issue for the next council. That will deal with planning for land development into the future.
Looking further at land development, she pointed out the continued population growth in Whitehorse. The next council will also likely have to look at where residential development will happen after Whistle Bend is fully built out.
Irwin said she believes that needs to happen as close to the city centre as possible. That would allow for new residential sites to tie in to existing city services – utilities, transit and the like.
The city’s relationship with local First Nations has grown significantly over the last three years, she noted. It’s important for the city to continue work with First Nations as development of the city continue in facilitating housing, she believes.
Looking back over the last three years, Irwin said a lot of work has been done toward planning for the future of the city – downtown and Marwell plans, a transit master plan and a study looking at traffic demand, among others.
“We’ve achieved a lot of (planning),” Irwin commented. The documents give city administration a “road map” on how to move forward on those matters in the coming years, she added.
Most important for the new council, Irwin said, is coming up with its strategic plan which gives management “their marching orders” over the three-year term.
She pointed out that going into the next term, each council member will bring forward his or her own issues of concern. It’s through the strategic planning exercise that council decides where its overall focus will be.
“Council’s going to have to work together,” Irwin said, noting from her own experience that the effort involves compromise by members.
The work of council is not always easy, she stressed.
“Council must make sometimes very hard decisions on how and where to allocate limited resources but that is what they are elected to do – set policies and create visions and plans which they see will benefit the community as a whole,” she said.
Along with her work as a city councillor, Irwin highlighted her experience as an inter-provincially certified tradesperson and one of the founding members of Yukon Women In Trades. She worked for government and as a business owner.
Irwin has also held a number of volunteer roles, which currently include being a director with the Humane Society Yukon and the Golden Age Society.
In 2015, Irwin placed third of 23 councillor candidates with 2,457 votes.
She is the latest to announce her plans to run for council with incumbents Samson Hartland and Roslyn Woodcock also seeking re-election.
Also planning to run for councillor are former councillors Mike Gladish and Jan Stick, former Yukon Party MLA David Laxton and local residents Andrew Smith, Steve Roddick and Laura Cabott.
Mayor Dan Curtis is also seeking re-election, challenged by Rick Karp and Wilf Carter.
Nominations will close at noon Sept. 27.
In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.
Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.