Whitehorse Municipal Election - Question to Mayoral Candidates

YHMA participated in Volunteer Bénévoles Yukon's (VBY) Whitehorse mayoral candidate forum on October 6. During this event, we submitted a question to candidates regarding the City of Whitehorse's Heritage Management Plan and Heritage Advisory Committee. Although there was not enough time for the candidates to answer all the submitted questions, VBY followed up with candidates and collected responses to YHMA's question, shared below.

Earlier this week, we submitted this and additional questions to all councillor candidates and the additional questions to all mayoral candidates. We will be sharing any responses we receive on Monday, October 18.


The City has a Heritage Management Plan created in 1999. One of the 5 goals of the plan is to build community consensus and facilitate community heritage partnerships, with the Heritage Advisory Committee as a significant tool for this. This Committee has been defunct for some time. Would you support updating the Heritage Management Plan and reinstating the Heritage Advisory Committee, and if so, how would you work with community partners to accomplish this?

Laura Cabbott:

Thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself and thank you for the work you and your colleagues do to preserve and protect Whitehorse’s heritage. Protecting our heritage so we can learn from the past and celebrate Whitehorse’s culture and community is important. Our heritage and historic buildings are tourist attractions and tourism will be an important activity as we come out of the pandemic. Strengthening our local economy and tourism sector is one of my key platform ideas, please read more at https://lauracabott.com/.

I know in the past the Heritage Advisory Committee was very active and I do not know why it became inactive. In general, I believe that we need to do more to engage citizens and NGOs, which is why I have committed to establishing citizen advisory committees that will work with mayor and council. So yes, in general I support the re-establishment of the Heritage Advisory Committee and would look to the YHMA and the City’s other partners in heritage such as the Yukon government, McBride Museum, Transportation Museum, the Kwanlin Dun First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council and others as how to best move forward.

If elected Mayor I look forward to working with you to facilitate community heritage partnerships.

Patti Balsille:

It is directly from working with yourself and YHMA through board development and strategy projects that I have learned of the broken formulas and outdated MOU’s for care, maintenance and preservation of the spaces that hold our history and charm. I am committed to advocating for the reintroduction of public committees including the Heritage Advisory Committee. We don’t know what we don’t know, and we need to inspire creative and innovative solutions. Doing the things they way we have always done is NOT working - and a vote for Patti for Mayor is a vote for WE CAN DO BETTER.

Samson Hartland:

I’ve committed to re-instituting advisory committee structures the City benefitted from for so long when meaningfully engaging with various elements of our community. This would include new ones such as a Business Advisory Committee, but also re-insituting others such as the Persons with Disabilities, the Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism & Discrimination, as well as the Heritage Advisory Committee.

To keep a long story, short - I’m committed to do this by meeting with each an every one of the non-profits and volunteers who have played significant roles in the past iterations of our advisory committee as well as working with administration to understand what limitations may exist, and how to work towards eliminating those barriers (legislative, capacity, etc).

I’d be pleased to discuss further when appropriate.