By Debbi Harvie
and Heather Brimicombe
PICTOU – Fat Tony’s was bursting at the seams Wednesday night as Pictou residents came out to listen to candidates running in the October 15 municipal elections.
The Pints & Politics event was one of seven conducted in each municipality throughout the county in advance of online voting beginning October 3.
Six of the seven possible candidates for council were present along with all three mayoral candidates, all speaking for two minutes each on what they perceive to be the key issues facing the town.
A similar thread ran through all candidates’ messages as they spoke to the importance of clean water, attracting new business, roads, retaining youth and more recently, the retention of P-12 students in the town.
A topic that arose more than once was that of spring clean up.
Last year, council decided to do away with the spring clean up as they stated it was a repetition of services provided by Pictou County Solid Waste.
A couple of candidates noted going door to door, many people were quite upset about the service being taken away for the sake of $5,000.
Wanita Atkins said she decided to attend because she didn’t know some of the candidates running and wanted to see who they were.
Debbie Nowlan was also present and noted how wonderful it was to see such a large crowd.
“There’s a great sense of pride here (in Pictou),” noted Amanda Hill with Pulse Pictou County, the group hosting the Pints & Politics event.
Jessica Muir, with Pulse Pictou County added, “There seems to be a genuine interest in Pictou and not just from people who are here with a candidate. I think with a few nights of events behind us, the buzz about it has made a bit of a difference.”
Both Nowlan and Atkins agree; the issues they were concerned about were addressed by all of the candidates.
“Those are the issues and they all touched on them,” noted Atkins.
Mike Feiner was a county resident who recently moved to the Town of Pictou with his wife.
“I think Pictou needs new, effective leadership,” he said. “(This event) is a heck of a good way to learn who is running and why and a chance to pick their brain. Everybody talks about attracting business, but I want to know how they plan to do it. Are they going to have tax incentives? Land use changes? That’s the big concern, because once the business is here, everything will fall into place.”
The Town of Trenton put a good foot forward stepping into this year’s municipal election, giving a good turn out to the recent Pints & Politics session held at the Legion.
In total, with the eight candidates who attended and two Pulse Pictou County representatives, there were 33 people in attendance for the political forum.
Each of the candidates came forth during their two-minute time limit and spoke about what they are hoping to do if elected. Some of the common concerns that were echoed by more than one candidate included lowering the commercial tax rate, bringing back the campground in the park as well as working on getting more of the town’s roads paved.
The two mayoral candidates who attended spoke about different issues, citing problems they are hoping to address such as getting taxes from the power commission, roads repairs, as well as taking chances and doing what needs to be done to help move the community forward in a positive way.
“The lack of businesses in Trenton, along with our commercial tax rate – and for myself I’d like to see more activity In our park,” said Ann Kenney, a citizen who attended the meeting.
Kenney noted that she thought the forum itself was an excellent idea and she is happy to see younger people interested in local politics.
“I think it’s wonderful that they host it,” said Kenney. “Too bad more people wouldn’t come.”
The members of Pulse in attendance at Wednesday’s meeting were pleased with the turnout in Trenton and thought it was positive to see the number of people who came forward.
“I think all the candidates are all very committed to their residents,” said Ashlie Cormier of Pulse. “I think we should all give them a pat on the back.”
Top photo: Pints & Politics at the Trenton Legion was a success with a large number of interested people attending to hear what the candidates had to say. (Brimicombe photo)
INSET: A large group of people attended Fat Tony’s on Wednesday for the Pulse Pictou County Pints and Politics forum. (Harvie photo)