There are 14 Pictou County residents running for mayor in the 2016 municipal election: three new faces each in Pictou and Trenton, four new people are offering in New Glasgow, Stellarton’s incumbent mayor is facing off against one newcomer and in Westville, the incumbent mayor has two challengers.
In the lead up to the election, The Advocate has reached out to the mayoral candidates in each town asking several questions that have been on the minds of voters.
Here are their responses…
KEN LANGILLE, New Glasgow
What compelled you to run as mayor of your community?
I got requests from citizens with the way council has made decisions in the past and the operation of the town. There are also reasons like the closing of our stadium and giving away the bleachers to the Stellarton Pioneer Track. The town also made some promises to seniors citizens, with the 55 Plus Club, to get them new quarters. They were supposed to move into the former Acadia Street School but that fell through and they are at the fire station with the firefighters and, from what I hear, it’s not working out so well.
What do you feel are the three main priorities/issues your town is facing?
Mine would be taxes, the debt and the lack of development, especially in the downtown. (The town) is not doing much of anything; it doesn’t seem to support the downtown merchants.
What are the future prospects of your town?
To maintain the services we have and work on attracting some new business to come to the area. If we could do that we would get some employment and try to retain our youth because we are losing them to the cities and out west.
What do you feel the future of “amalgamation/shared services” is for the community?
I think we should be working on making better relationships with all of the municipalities. I think that’s the biggest thing, those relationships. I have heard from residents from different towns that everything goes to New Glasgow and people don’t want to come here. There’s always a rivalry in the county between some people (between the different towns).
How do you think you can better/improve the town?
We should be working towards our business district. There are too many stores closed up in the downtown area. We should be looking at infrastructure, what is the most important to be done and the least important to be done and make repairs on a priority basis. We should also be going for more government grants for things like making the former Acadia Street School a place where all community groups (including the 55 Plus Club) can set up shop. I’m sure there’s government grants and ACOA funding.
What would you do differently?
I would work with council and review all of our department budgets and see where the issues lie in the town. We need to control spending and keep the taxes at a rate we can live with. It seems like it goes up every year. I know there are some things we can’t control, but I want council to work as a team and all work together, not against each other.