Gloria McCluskey has stepped down from the Dartmouth Centre throne, creating a power vacuum in which rise eight challengers for the crown. The District 5 candidates are a cordial bunch, but make no mistake, they’re each fighting hard to rep Dartmouth across the water at City Hall.
Eligible voters: 21,100 (as of 2014)
(Virtually the same as in 2012)
Past voter turnout: 42.45 percent
Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission executive director Tim Rissesco was one of the first political hopefuls to throw his hat into the ring for District 5. He’s joined on the ballot by urban planner Sam Austin, who came a distant second to McCluskey in 2012. Journalist Kate Watson (disclaimer: who’s also The Coast’s theatre critic) came in fourth in that election, and is trying her hand again in this election. Solidarity advocate (and HRM’s first openly trans candidate) Gabriel Enxuga is also on the ballot, along with luthier and former seafood exporter Ned Milburn and
punk rocker/photographer/hospital worker Adam Bowes [Bowes has suspended his campaign]. Derek Vallis and Warren Wesson round out the eight-person candidate list. Wallis is a lawyer and former military man. Wesson is a former drug dealer who turned his life around and became one of the loudest voices in the Dartmouth branding debate.
Like the other three open races for city hall, District 5’s candidates often trip over themselves agreeing with each other on the area’s biggest themes of smarter development, housing affordability and food security. Austin, Watson and Rissesco have all trumpeted the revitalization of downtown Dartmouth in a positive, let’s-keep-going campaign. Enxuga wants free transit, while Milburn stresses HRM needs better environmental stewardship and Wesson talks about affordable housing (and brands). District 5 has lost a strong champion in McCluskey’s retirement, and bridging the disconnect between both sides of the harbour will be a big lift for whoever wins this race. What we’d like to see is that councillor-to-be pledge now to get the Sawmill River day-lighted in their term—creating a gorgeous public space for future generations of Dartmouthians (and Haligonians).
Click here to find out more info on how, where and when you can vote in HRM’s municipal election.