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…
CAM BEATON, Pictou
What compelled you to run as mayor of your community?
I decided to run for mayor because our town is facing significant challenges and after serving as councillor and deputy mayor, I have the experience to lead Pictou through the next term. It will be challenging, but I have listened and am familiar with the concerns facing our town and the tasks that are ongoing.
What do you feel are the three main priorities your town is facing?
Population decline, drinking water and the current school review are significant issues facing our town at this time.
What are the future prospects of your town?
Future prospects for Pictou rely on growth, both residential and commercial. The newly acquired lands at the entrance to town provide an opportunity to increase our commercial tax base and attract visitors. Modernized signage to entice new comers further into our downtown core and waterfront area will go a long way to promote activity in our town. It will not happen overnight, but we will start and we will make it happen.
What do you feel the future of “amalgamation/shared services” is for the community?
As far as amalgamation goes, I participated in the MOU steering committee and after all studies were complete and a plan constructed, I saw benefits for the town to consider this option. But I have always stated that this decision was too big for a council to make and that the public must decide. The plebiscite was held and the people that I represent have spoken. I listened and respected your choice through my council vote.
Moving forward, I believe that working closely with the other five municipalities can have positive results and I will continue to build upon that relationship through shared services and co-operation.
How do you think you can better/improve the town?
Water improvement was our main goal during the last term and although we have made significant advances, the construction of a new water treatment plant and addition of two pressure balancing zones will greatly improve our water quality and delivery system.
It is imperative that together as council and residents, united, we voice our concerns over the Pictou school review and the busing of our children, of any age group, out of town. That practice will not only put pressure on the education of our youth but will erode the very fabric of our community.
An aggressive prioritized street re-paving program and sidewalk improvement plan is desperately needed and I will work towards achieving that goal.
With a low commercial tax base and rising governmental costs it is imperative that every dollar allocated to capital funding be spent wisely. A strong team will work towards growing our commercial tax base and our population to move Pictou forward in a positive way.
New legislation in place now could assist us in our economic development strategies and we will work with current developers and other interested prospects.
What would you do differently?
Pictou is a wonderful place to live and work but we must communicate that within and beyond our boundaries. If elected, I will encourage all residents, staff and council to get on board, to promote and revitalize our town together. I will also encourage more citizen input and engagement and more open communication between council and the public. Together we can make it happen.