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…
JIM RYAN, Pictou
What compelled you to run as mayor of your community?
The people of Pictou are looking for a new, positive and energetic approach to how town business is conducted.
I have the necessary leadership and management skills to lead our Town Council in making the important decisions that will move our community forward to a more prosperous future.
What do you feel are the three main priorities your town is facing?
Improving the condition of water, roads and sidewalks by completing the proposed water treatment plant and developing a long range plan for resurfacing town streets. Repairing and constructing sidewalks in high traffic areas is also a priority. Safety and accessibility issues must always be at the forefront in this process.
Promoting economic growth and stability by actively pursuing and attracting business to our community while reviewing all expenses associated with our Town Administration and its’ Departments.
Protecting our institutions and services by presenting strong opposition to all attempts to remove or reduce educational opportunities for our children or health services for all residents.
What are the future prospects of your town?
Pictou has many wonderful attributes. We should not assume that people know about our community and all it has to offer. We must capitalize on our assets to promote and actively sell Pictou as an attractive place for new business, as a premier tourist destination and wonderful place to raise a family or spend your retirement years.
What do you feel the future of “amalgamation/shared services” is for the community?
Every community must be willing to investigate opportunities to improve the lives of its residents. From time to time those opportunities may involve savings gained through the sharing of services with other municipal units. We must, however, be certain that all proposals are thoroughly examined and decisions made in the best interests of the residents of the Town of Pictou.
How do you think you can better/improve the town?
Consultation and effective communication will be a priority for me as we work together to strengthen the strong sense of pride and ownership that is necessary for positive change.
We require a long range plan to pursue new ways to increase economic development and growth. This is the only way to increase the commercial tax base and lessen the current strain on residential tax payers. Our limited funds must be used in the most effective and efficient way to provide necessary services to residents without raising taxes.
What would you do differently?
Pictou Town Council must be more accessible to the people it serves. I would hold regular, informal community meetings to discuss town issues. These opportunities would serve to reduce or eliminate the uncertainty and confusion around town business and provide a forum to share ideas or concerns that lead to improvements to our town.