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…
PAY RYAN, Westville
What compelled you to run as mayor of your community?
Westville needs a facilitator with experience in community development. I have skills that can help pull together a new vision for our Town. And I am confident in my ability to attract both private and governmental funding. A practical plan for future development should have a high degree of input from citizens.
What do you feel are the three main priorities your town is facing?
Firstly, taxation is hurting us in the pocket book and in our ability to develop. We are spinning our wheels trying to maintain basic services as costs increase. It is Westville’s time to cycle out of this situation.
Secondly, we can move Westville forward through planning. We must undertake some calculated risk in moving forward. We need to improve communications in creating a vision. Our residents and businesses need to have direct-open input in creating a plan. After all, Westville has plenty of land for residential and business development.
Finally we need to be more supportive toward business development by being communicators with key players.
What do you feel the future of “amalgamation/shared services” is for the community?
The municipalities of Pictou County, staffs and councils, need some breathing room right now. We each need to do the best for our communities. In Westville that means doing what we can to strengthen the tax base. Mayors and councils in the County will be freshened after October 15. There will be new ideas. While Westville is willing to have discourse with other municipal governments, we cannot wait any longer to plan and develop.
How do you think you can better/improve the town?
In the short term, we need to create a framework for downtown improvement. It can be a plan with a few phases to make it affordable to Westville. The Town must take advantage of infrastructure dollars especially when three-quarters of capital funds comes from federal and provincial governments.
What would you do differently?
Westville needs to establish an open-door policy for citizen and business input. And we need to be pro-active in this regard. It is clear we need a fresh start.