Melinda MacKenzie calls herself a “proud Pictonian” and she wants your vote for Pictou Town Council in the upcoming municipal election.
A graduate of Pictou Academy, Acadia University and James Cook University in Australia, MacKenzie is an advocate of lifelong learning and currently teaches at Pictou Landing First Nation School. She is co-founder of Earth Lovers Pictou County, a founding member of the Pictou Exploratory Society, and she mentors a friend she met in 2017 through Big Brothers Big Sisters. She has recently been appointed as a new committee member on the Cape to Cape Trail Association, and completed Outdoor Council of Canada and Red Cross Wilderness First Aid Training this summer — she spends a great deal of time outdoors.
“I have been fortunate enough to volunteer and collaborate on many different projects and initiatives internationally, and I think that a lot of my knowledge and experience could offer new perspectives and ideas in the Council Chambers. I also hope that my love of the outdoors can inspire others to get outside more often,” she says.
Having been a part of communities that provide endless opportunities for growth and learning, MacKenzie believes the Town of Pictou deserves to have more of these opportunities available for its citizens. She also feels a need to continue to empower and celebrate community members who provide programming and give back to the community.
Shawn Ryan, longtime Pictou resident and community volunteer, collaborates on the Pictou Exploratory Society with MacKenzie and four other community members. “Melinda is driven to provide more opportunities for her fellow community members. Having had many opportunities for extra-curricular involvement growing up, she’s motivated to provide similar opportunities for youth and residents today,” Ryan lauds.
MacKenzie shares her home with her rescue dog, Rex. She recently purchased this home in Pictou as a first-time home owner. In noting that many others were also buying homes in the area, MacKenzie felt there was a missed opportunity to promote local businesses while also welcoming new residents to the community.
“I think there’s a lot of potential to sell our community to new homeowners. I am not confident that I even know all of the businesses and services that are available to me right here in town, but I am committed to finding out, and finding ways to promote and empower them.”
MacKenzie looks forward to speaking with and collaborating with citizens and local business owners to find out how she can promote their work, while learning about the successes and stresses of owning a business in Pictou.
Before returning home to teach in Canada, MacKenzie lived and taught in Cambodia. Prior to that, she taught in Germany, China, South Korea and Australia, but she was drawn back to the South East Asian country in 2017 —inspired by its sustainability initiatives and its work on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She enjoyed being part of a vast school community that not only valued the environment, but empowered everyone within it to respect it.
“Melinda’s passion for the environment and creating positive change is infectious and resulted in a number of initiatives that continue long after her departure,” endorsed Liz Ford, elementary principal, International School of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. “She also brought people together and was the driving force behind our social committee, organizing fun events including the amazing tuk tuk race which not only introduced new staff to the city, but also how to live sustainably within it.”
If elected councillor, MacKenzie promises to, first and foremost, listen.
“I’ve got a lot to learn about being a councillor, but also about Pictonians and their experiences living in Pictou. I am committed to listening to feedback and following it up, so that diverse perspectives and all voices are represented at council meetings.”