Students take interest in Municipal Awareness Week


NEW GLASGOW – The second youngest councillor by a mere month, Lindell Smith discussed his role on Halifax’s municipal council with Grade 12 students at North Nova Education Centre.

Smith was voted in for the first time this past October during the municipal election at the ripe old age of 26, the second African Nova Scotian to sit on Halifax’s council.

His talk kicked off Municipal Awareness Week as a means of introducing youth to the soon-to-be-formed Youth Advisory Action Committee for the Town of New Glasgow.

“As part of our new mandate, we passed a motion at the last council meeting to establish a youth committee to get their involvement and perspective in the long term for the community,” explained Nancy Dicks, mayor of New Glasgow.

Smith has a number of accolades and achievements under his belt, but what he really cares about is having his voice heard and working toward change.

“I grew up on Gottingen Street,” he explained. “Historically that is one of the most stigmatized areas in Halifax and is a very negative place to live. I grew up in an area that was marginalized and poverty was prominent …”

Smith told the students he has seen some terrible things and because of those experiences, he wanted to make a difference.

“As young people, you are the economic drivers of our society today,” he said, going on to tell the students that the owners of a number of billion dollar companies were youth, including Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

“Technology has made young people the true drivers of our economy. As youth, you need to realize that you have so much potential to unlock.”

At the age of 13, Smith voiced his opinions and worked toward having his voice heard by jumping out of his comfort zone and speaking when and where he felt there were injustices because he wanted change.

“Do you know how important it is to have your voice heard in our policies and how the city is run?” he asked. “Your vision is what’s going to drive our future.”

He also engaged the students as to things they like about their town and things they feel could change.

The first was most clearly roads and road work followed by the need for a Mental Health unit in Pictou County.

“You are all hidden treasures,” he told them. “You need to really encourage each other and take active roles.”

Dylan Thompson-MacKay, left, a young entrepreneur, presented HRM councillor Lindell Smith with a
handmade wooden pen from his business, Elwood, while New Glasgow Mayor Nancy Dicks looks on. Smith is the youngest councillor sitting on Halifax Council and he spoke to Grade 12 students at North Nova Education Centre for Municipal Awareness Week.

(Harvie photo)

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