Reality Bites provides the best coverage of current affairs and political issues related to Halifax and City Council anywhere in the Halifax Regional Municipality. Oh, and we bring the snark, too. Contact jacob@thecoast.ca to send a tip.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

15 questions with District 14 candidate Kevin Copley

“I’m ready to hit the ground running in October.”

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 10:52 AM

Copley can be reached at 902-579-5555 and - info@kevincopley.ca, or via Facebook and Twitter. - VIA FACEBOOK
  • Copley can be reached at 902-579-5555 andinfo@kevincopley.ca, or via Facebook and Twitter.
  • via Facebook

The Coast sent all 53 candidates running in HRM’s municipal election the same 15-question survey in order to help their residents and our readers know a little more about who’s running for council. Here’s what Kevin Copley from Middle/Upper Sackville—Beaver Bank—Lucasville sent back.

———

Why should residents of your district vote for you?

This October, the residents of District 14 have a choice to make. They can vote for the same, or they can vote for change by voting for someone who believes in better for his community; by voting for someone who studied community design at Dalhousie University’s school of architecture and planning to learn how to make communities better; by voting for someone who has spent the past three years volunteering for HRM’s North West Planning Advisory Committee reviewing planning applications and following the same policies and procedures as HRM council; by voting for someone who spent the past three-to-four years volunteering in his community to gain a better understanding of the issues facing residents and how to better serve them; by voting for someone who has over a decade of private sector experience with a relevant set of skills that are transferrable to a role on Regional Council; by voting for someone who has committed to living his life in this community and has a vested interest in shaping the future of this district. The residents of District 14 should vote for me because I’m that someone and I’m ready to hit the ground running in October.

What’s something you wish people were talking about more this election?

This election in general.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

The answer to question six of this survey.

What’s the most accurate criticism someone’s made about you?

“You’re so stubborn” —my wife.

What was the first concert you ever went to?
Green Day, “the Dookie Tour,” Halifax Metro Centre, 1995. I was 15, traveled from Cape Breton to the city, rocked out and that very evening was introduced to Pizza Corner.

What was the last movie you didn’t finish?
Captain Phillips

What pisses you off?

You said keep it brief, whenever possible.

What’s changed the most in your district since 2012?

Aside from the creation of District 14 from two former districts, not a lot has changed, which is precisely why it’s time to elect a new representative for District 14.

What’s a specific moment in politics or your professional life that you really regret?

I really don’t have a particular moment in my professional life that I regret. I’ve carefully considered my decisions related to my career and have been fortunate that my hard work has turned into positive opportunity.

What’s the last thing that made you really laugh?

A lunchroom conversation at work. I work with funny people.

What’s your go-to meal when cooking?

Nowadays, whatever a four- and a one-and-a-half-year-old will eat.

What worries you the most about the Halifax Regional Municipality and the issues it's facing?

What worries me most about the Halifax Regional Municipality is a general lack of leadership on how to move forward as a regional municipality. HRM is polarized on issues on naming/branding, transit, development, density and can’t seem to come to any sort of consensus on solutions to these (and many more) issues.

How would you describe your opponents in this race?

I prefer not to comment.

What’s something you don’t know, but want to learn?

I don’t know exactly from where my ancestry comes beyond a couple of generations. I would like to learn that.

What do you promise NOT to do if elected?

I promise NOT to stay around longer than my best before date.

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The race for Waverley—Fall River—Musquodoboit Valley

All the candidates and issues facing District 1 this election.

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 10:34 AM

District 1 includes smaller suburban areas (Fall River, Waverley) and much larger rural stretches throughout Musquodoboit. Click here for HRM’s boundary description. - AKIRA ARRUDA
  • District 1 includes smaller suburban areas (Fall River, Waverley) and much larger rural stretches throughout Musquodoboit. Click here for HRM’s boundary description.
  • AKIRA ARRUDA

It takes nearly two hours to drive fully across District 1, making the open race for Waverley—Fall River—Musquodoboit Valley more of a marathon than a sprint. The six candidates battling it out will have to decide between canvassing for voters in the area’s concentrated suburban centers, or visiting the spread-out, often ignored rural communities throughout the Musquodoboit Valley.

Eligible voters: 16,371 (as of 2014)
(Up 700 from 2012)
Past voter turnout: 43.4 percent

The Candidates
Incumbent councillor Barry Dalrymple isn’t re-offering, but he has thrown his political weight behind longtime friend and Dartmouth Adult Service Centre executive director Cathy Deagle-Gammon. That endorsement may help or hinder Deagle-Gammon’s chances, particularly while running against Steve Streatch. The councillor of 13 years was defeated by Dalrymple in 2012. Streatch was a perennial F-grader in The Coast’s annual council report cards, but it’s not like that stopped him from getting elected before. Over in Waverley, real estate agent Alison McNair and Canada Post employee Steve Sinnott are promising to bring change to how District 1 is represented at City Hall. Meanwhile, veterinarian Trevor Lawson might have the farmer vote out in Musquodoboit, but he’ll need to win over the suburbs to get elected. Lawson did recently score an endorsement from beloved ex-MP Peter Stoffer, though that might not carry much weight in the traditionally Conservative district. Rounding out the ballot is social media-abstaining millennial Colin Castle, who’s descended from one of the valley’s original settler families.

The Issues
Commuter rail offers a glimmer of hope to the transit-barren residents of District 1, especially with all that federal infrastructure funding in HRM’s bank account. The population of the area is also ageing up without many resources or seniors homes in place to accommodate that demographic switch. A proposed quarry near Miller Lake, water issues, the ditch tax and the recent outcry over HRM’s large lot bylaw are all likely hot topics in this campaign. All of those problems speak to one of District 1’s biggest conflicts at city hall—the ongoing divide between rural and urban HRM. Whoever does win Waverley—Fall River—Musquodoboit Valley will need to find a way to make their residents feel heard, while working together with all of the municipality's other councillors—new and old, rural and urban.

Click here to find out more info on how, where and when you can vote in HRM’s municipal election.


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The fight for Bedford Basin West

All the candidates and issues facing District 10 this election.

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 4:00 AM

This district includes Rockingham, Kearney Lake, Fairview, and sections of Clayton Park (including Mount St. Vincent University). Click here for HRM’s boundary description. - AKRIA ARRUDA
  • This district includes Rockingham, Kearney Lake, Fairview, and sections of Clayton Park (including Mount St. Vincent University). Click here for HRM’s boundary description.

  • AKRIA ARRUDA
Bedford Basin West spans Halifax areas like Fairview, Clayton Park and Rockingham, with a constituency largely populated by families, seniors and folks who commute into the downtown daily. It's also an extremely diverse community—the most ethnically diverse east of Montreal, according to candidate Mohammad Ehsan.

Eligible voters: 18,578 (as of 2014)
(Down a few hundred people from 2012)
Past voter turnout: 30.54 percent

The Candidates
If incumbent Russell Walker wins the election in October, his term will mark a quarter of a century representing the area at City Hall. Standing in his way are two new opponents trying to heat up the race: Andrew Curran, Halifax Public Libraries employee and former NSUPE local vice president; and Mohammad Ehsan, a Dalhousie faculty member who is about to defend his PhD in political science. All three candidates say they have been spending their days knocking on doors, (or in Walker's case, meeting residents at Tim Horton’s) to absorb local concerns. Walker, as would be expected, is running his campaign based off his past experience as councillor. Curran is focusing on community development, and Ehsan says he wants to fix the disconnect between residents and regional council by promising to hold monthly town hall meetings every four months if elected.

The Issues
District 10 has some of the same HRM-wide issues everyone else is dealing with, but one element it’s lagging behind on is community spaces. Partially the void in community spaces is the result of the Northcliffe Community Centre’s demolition in 2011. All three candidates have told us residents in Bedford Basin West could use a new hub to come together for recreational and social programs. Curran was inspired to run after meeting a senior who moved out of the area due to isolation, and from this problem he built his platform. Walker says residents have been calling for a new centre in Fairview; he is also concerned about traffic congestion and transit. Ehsan, aside from his town hall pledge, is philosophical about some of his promises, telling The Coast he wants to empower residents. We agree the next councillor for Bedford Basin West should make sure everyone in their district has the space to forge a strong, shared sense of community.

Click here to find out more info on how, where and when you can vote in HRM’s election.


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15 questions with District 12 candidate Scott Guthrie

“We can't talk enough about waste management. Let's stay a world leader in this area!”

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 4:00 AM

Guthrie can be reached at 902-702-8889 and - info@scottguthrie.ca, or via Facebook and Twitter. - LENNY MULLINS
  • Guthrie can be reached at 902-702-8889 and info@scottguthrie.ca, or via Facebook and Twitter.
  • LENNY MULLINS

The Coast sent all 53 candidates running in HRM’s municipal election the same 15-question survey in order to help their residents and our readers know a little more about who’s running for council. Here’s what Scott Guthrie from Timberlea—Beechville—Clayton Park—Wedgewood sent back.

———

Why should residents of your district vote for you?

I understand that District 12 is a diverse district with lots of different priorities and yet many common concerns. I want to put a voice on council that recognizes that diversity and is willing to raise the issues that matter to all parts of the district to ensure that every voice is heard and receives equal representation.

What’s something you wish people were talking about more this election?

As vice-chair for the Otter Lake Monitoring Committee, we can't talk enough about waste management. Let's stay a world leader in this area! Furthermore, looking closer at growing Halifax into a more inclusive and accessible municipality that is welcoming to everyone and encourages sustainable growth.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

Council minutes about the Blue Mountain-Birch Cove decision.

What’s the most accurate criticism someone’s made about you?

The fact that I don't currently live inside the District 12 boundaries as of the 2012 changes. That's absolutely accurate, but my connections with #HRM12 are lifelong and dedicated. I know the district, I was born and raised in BLT, my children feed into the Halifax West School system and I have been extremely involved for many years in groups and organizations across the entire district. It is not about where I go to sleep, it is about where my roots are and where I have proven myself as a leader for the betterment of all communities across #HRM12.

What was the first concert you ever went to?

Triumph—Thunder 7 Tour, 1985 at the Halifax Metro Centre (ScotiaBank Centre).

What was the last movie you didn’t finish?

I've tried a couple of times to watch movies after a day on the campaign trail. Never get past the opening credits...

What pisses you off?

Anyone on the road (drivers, bikers, pedestrians) who don't obey the rules of the road as they pertain to them—especially around crosswalks.

What’s changed the most in your district since 2012?

A lot more conversation online! Lots of social media channels available where citizens have a direct line to their councillors and other government representatives. There's a Facebook group for every neighbourhood. It's challenging to keep up with all of the conversations but it provides great insight into what people feel is important, and keeps representatives accountable to their constituents.

What’s a specific moment in politics or your professional life that you really regret?

I'm brand new to politics, so no regrets yet! Professionally, any mistakes I've made have been learning experiences, so there isn't much to regret about gaining a better understanding of the work you're entrusted to do.

What’s the last thing that made you really laugh?

My son and his friends goofing around in the backyard.

What’s your go-to meal when cooking?

Anything I can put on the barbecue. Well, unless it is a late night snack, then I love a warm bowl of soup—wonton soup being my all-time favourite.

What worries you the most about the Halifax Regional Municipality and the issues it's facing?

Getting back to the basics, the core responsibilities of services that the municipality seems to have difficulty providing. Our road maintenance, crosswalks, snow removal, waste management, pedestrian safety, traffic calming measures, inclusion and accessibility, sports and recreation, affordable housing, active transportation, public transit and responsible development in line with sustainable growth that is in balance with surrounding communities.

How would you describe your opponents in this race?

I don't know many of them personally, but for the most part I can say our interactions have been respectful. I appreciate what it takes to run in an election, so I admire them for stepping forward to offer.

What’s something you don’t know, but want to learn?

My wife is an incredible artist. Some day, when we're retired, maybe, she's going to teach me to paint something other than the walls and ceilings.

What do you promise NOT to do if elected?

I promise not to break, this, my one promise: If you choose to elect me as your representative, I promise to fully represent YOU and your concerns at the council table. I commit to giving you my dedicated support, to work hard for you and to echo your voice in council. I will fight for what is right, and what is needed. I promise that my leadership will be a partnership with the people I represent. I will work with you, beside you and when needed, lead you, all in an effort to better the communities of District 12 and that of the entire municipality.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

North End Community Health Centre gets a new home on Gottingen Street

Province offers a longterm lease on property to replace health organization’s aging headquarters.

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 5:10 PM

The NECHC's current ailing location on Gottingen. - THE COAST
  • The NECHC's current ailing location on Gottingen.
  • THE COAST

Months ago the North End Community Health Centre was asking the province for more funding to fix its collapsing roof. Instead, the north end medical centre will be getting a whole new location courtesy of a 10-year lease from the Liberal government. 



The announcement was made Monday afternoon at a press conference held with the Department of Health and Wellness and the Nova Scotia Health Authority.


“This agreement provides us with stability and will allow us to focus on what we do well, provide community care and not have to worry about fixing an old, cramped space,” said NECHC executive director Rod Wilson in a press release.

The new long-term lease will move the NECHC into the Major General Donald J. MacDonald Building at 2131 Gottingen Street. The registered charity will receive 15,000 square feet spread out across two floors on a fixed 10-year lease, with an option for a five-year renewal.

The new location will replace NECHC’s current home at 2165 Gottingen Street. That 40-year-old property is in dire need of repairs, with Wilson likening it to a trouble-plagued Sea King helicopter when he last spoke to The Coast back in January. The building’s roof is leaking, rotten and ready to collapse—a problem estimated to cost as much as $90,000 to fix. That would have been on top of the $500,000 in additional building renovations needed.

The new longterm lease will have the NECHC making payments to Nova Scotia’s Health Authority at “comparable” costs to its current least payments. The property at 2165 Gottingen will be sold and any proceeds invested back into NECHC’s longterm plans.


The North End Community Health Centre relies on government funding for 94 percent of its revenue. According to Wilson, the organization hasn’t seen an increase in that funding for the last several years.

Wilson recently ran for the governing Liberal party in a by-election for the Halifax-Needham riding. He ended up losing to NDP challenger Lisa Roberts, but that doesn’t seem to have had an impact on the NECHC’s popularity with health minister Leo Glavine.

“The North End Community Health Centre has been a model of collaborative health care for the last 45 years,” said Glavine. “We’re pleased to continue to support their work.”

The NECHC formed in the 1970s after the Africville eviction brought an influx of new, lower-income residents to the Gottingen Street area. It employs six part-time physicians and a staff of nearly 50 nurses, nurse practitioners, nutritionists and social workers. Together, they offer general health services, a free dental clinic, nutrition classes, street outreach programs and mental health and addiction services to roughly 2,500 monthly patients.

The move down the road is expected to be completed between April and August of next year.


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15 questions with District 6 candidate Carlos Beals

“Right now, on a municipal level we are not addressing [violence and crime] sufficiently.”

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 12:27 PM

Beals can be reached at 902-418-8990 and - Vote4beals@gmail.com, or via Facebook and Twitter. - VIA FACEBOOK
  • Beals can be reached at 902-418-8990 andVote4beals@gmail.com, or via Facebook and Twitter.
  • via Facebook

The Coast sent all 53 candidates running in HRM’s municipal election the same 15-question survey in order to help their residents and our readers know a little more about who’s running for council. Here’s what Carlos Beals from Harbourview—Burnside—Dartmouth East sent back.

———

Why should residents of your district vote for you?

As a young professional, I believe in communities that are healthy, vibrant and full of innovative opportunities. In these communities we must invest in our youth, thus investing in a brighter future for all of HRM. I have the experience and passion to inspire residents, work through barriers and strengthen communities. I have a strong vision for District 6 and all of HRM to ensure a community where no one is left behind.

What’s something you wish people were talking about more this election?

The issue of violence and crime. Right now, on a municipal level we are not addressing this topic sufficiently. I believe in being proactive and innovative. I feel that if we create opportunities for residents to be productive and self-sustaining, residents can and will thrive. In doing this we will see a significant reduction in crime and violence. Let’s not wait to address this issue.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

“Dalhousie School of Law.”

What’s the most accurate criticism someone’s made about you?

I am very passionate about all things I do. At times I struggle with a work/life balance. Fortunately, I try to surround my self with friends and family who support, encourage and motivate me so I can continue to be the best version of me.

What was the first concert you ever went to?

Ne-Yo at the Halifax Forum.

What was the last movie you didn’t finish?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

What pisses you off?

Seeing too many residents under-represented and left behind in the progression and growth of this city.

What’s changed the most in your district since 2012?

Participation among young people. They are looking for programs and opportunities to connect to their community in a positive way.

What’s a specific moment in politics or your professional life that you really regret?

Not getting involved in municipal politics earlier. I didn't realize the impact that municipal politics has on people's daily lives, and when I became aware of this, it was clear to me that I needed to represent District 6. Representation to those who need it most.

What’s the last thing that made you really laugh?

Online Vine videos.

What’s your go-to meal when cooking?

Shepherd's pie.

What worries you the most about the Halifax Regional Municipality and the issues it's facing?

How difficult it is for youth to be successful and thrive. Too many of our young people are leaving the city to find viable opportunities outside of our city. We need to keep them in the city as they are our future.

How would you describe your opponents in this race?

Tony is a very nice guy. He is very friendly and seems passionate about the causes he supports.

What’s something you don’t know, but want to learn?

I would like to learn how to develop an app.

What do you promise NOT to do if elected?

I will not become a career municipal politician. I promise to serve all residents to the best of my abilities for my whole term, and should residents feel I am doing a good job, I will run for re-election at most twice. I feel that term limits are very important. I will represent the residents of District 6 for no more than three terms. I will stand by my vision and values and I want to be accountable and accessible to all residents to ensure that no one is being left behind.

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Poverty issues takes centre stage at Dartmouth Centre forum

Seven of the eight candidates battling for District 5 talk food security and affordable housing.

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 11:35 AM

From l-r: Sam Austin, Gabriel Enxuga, Ned Milburn, Tim Rissesco, Derek Vallis, Kate Watson and Warren Wesson. - CHRIS MUISE
  • From l-r: Sam Austin, Gabriel Enxuga, Ned Milburn, Tim Rissesco, Derek Vallis, Kate Watson and Warren Wesson.
  • CHRIS MUISE


Residents of Dartmouth Centre got a chance to put faces to campaign buttons when seven of the eight candidates running in next month’s municipal election took part in a candidates forum Sunday night at Grace United Church on King Street.

Tim Rissesco, Kate Watson, Sam Austin, Gabriel Enxuga, Ned Milburn, Warren Wesson and Derek Vallis took part in the event. District 5’s eighth candidate, Adam Bowes, bowed out to spend the evening canvassing for new voters.


Organized in partnership with the Face of Poverty Consultation—an interfaith coalition driven to eliminate poverty in HRM—the forum asked four preselected questions about issues of affordable housing, food security, public transportation and combating poverty for those with disabilities.


Everyone was on the same page when it came to supporting more affordable housing, investigating rent control and considering landlord licensing, though both Wesson and Vallis were not fans of more public housing projects. The table of candidates also largely agreed upon expanding food security success stories like community gardens and farmers’ markets.

Enxuga was alone in calling for free transit in HRM, saying it was a service for the public good. The other candidates supported expanding on and improving the municipality’s recent low-income bus pass program, but believed a subsidized transit service for all would displace too much of the cost onto the taxpayer’s plate.

Vallis pointedly said civic dollars should only be spent on roads after being asked about funding arts and culture. That view wasn’t shared by his opponents, who spent a great deal of time and enthusiasm avowing the value of municipally supported art programs and plans on reviving Dartmouth’s lost heritage museum.

Chatter about what to do with the $20-million windfall from the federal government in back taxes for Citadel Hill ranged from the lavish (an aquarium, via Rissesco) to the mundane (pay off our debts/rainy day fund, from both Wesson and Watson).

The one topic everyone running seems to agree on wasn’t about Dartmouth at all. The candidates said HRM should buy the Blue Mountain-Birch Cove wilderness lands at market value to preserve for future generations. Only Vallis and Wesson hinted at the possibility of flexing HRM’s legal muscle to expropriate the lands, but still admitted an amicable purchase between private landowners and HRM is probably a better idea.


Election day is October 15, but advance polling starts next week. Click here to find out more info on how, where and when you can vote.


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Sunday, September 25, 2016

15 questions with District 13 councillor Matt Whitman

“Residents can count on me to speak up and speak out.”

Posted By on Sun, Sep 25, 2016 at 9:08 PM

Whitman can be reached at 902-240-3330 and matt.whitman@halifax.ca, or via Facebook and Twitter. - VIA FACEBOOK
  • Whitman can be reached at 902-240-3330 and matt.whitman@halifax.ca, or via Facebook and Twitter.
  • via Facebook

The Coast sent all 53 candidates running in HRM’s municipal election the same 15-question survey in order to help their residents and our readers know a little more about who’s running for council. Here’s what Matt Whitman from Hammonds Plains—St. Margarets sent back.

———

Why should residents of your district vote for you?

Residents can count on me to speak up and speak out. I respond to all emails and phone calls. Serving constituents is my priority.

What’s something you wish people were talking about more this election?

Motivation. My motivation is to serve others full time.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

How many calories in a teen burger.

What’s the most accurate criticism someone’s made about you?

“Matt blocks negativity.”

What was the first concert you ever went to?

Haywire.

What was the last movie you didn’t finish?
Hunger Games

What pisses you off?

People that complain about summer weather.

What’s changed the most in your district since 2012?

Hammonds Plains—St. Margarets is booming. Great place to live work and play.

What’s a specific moment in politics or your professional life that you really regret?

Voting against Spirit Place at Windsor and Willow. Would have been built by now.

What’s the last thing that made you really laugh?

Kevin from The Office.

What’s your go-to meal when cooking?

Lasagna.

What worries you the most about the Halifax Regional Municipality and the issues it's facing?

Need to manage the current HRM boom happening in a not-booming Nova Scotia.

How would you describe your opponents in this race?

My opponents are ambitious.

What’s something you don’t know, but want to learn?

I'd like to learn to ride a unicycle.

What do you promise NOT to do if elected?

I promise not to let up. Full speed ahead. Full time dedication and service.

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Some asshole keeps making bomb threats

Police respond to five threats overnight at universities, library and airport.

Posted By on Sun, Sep 25, 2016 at 6:09 PM

The Halifax Central Library was one location named in the false bomb threats.
  • The Halifax Central Library was one location named in the false bomb threats.

Someone with nothing better to do keeps phoning in fake bomb threats to Halifax police, inciting more weary annoyance from the population than panicked terror.

Around 1:30am Sunday morning, Halifax RCMP were called by someone saying he was in the parking lot of Cole Harbour Place with bombs and a hunting rifle. Police surrounded the area but couldn’t find anything suspicious after conducting a search.

Just after 2am, Halifax police responded to a bomb threat at Dalhousie University. While on-scene, another threat was reported at Saint Mary’s University, and seven minutes later at the Halifax Central Library. Nothing suspicious was found at any of the locations.

Around about the same time, an automated phone message to RCMP claimed there was a bomb at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport. Again a search was conducted and nothing was found.

Hoax bomb threats late last week forced the evacuation of three NSCC campuses in Nova Scotia, and all schools and universities on Prince Edward Island. Similar threats occurred in Winnipeg, and forced school closures in areas of Nunavut.

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15 questions with District 5 candidate Kate Watson

“I really believe that first-person knowledge is necessary when figuring out how to make transit better.”

Posted By on Sun, Sep 25, 2016 at 4:00 AM

Watson can be reached at 902-719-1780 and - kate@kwatson.ca,  or via Facebook and Twitter. - VIA FACEBOOK
  • Watson can be reached at 902-719-1780 andkate@kwatson.ca, or via Facebook and Twitter.
  • via Facebook

The Coast sent all 53 candidates running in HRM’s municipal election the same 15-question survey in order to help their residents and our readers know a little more about who’s running for council. Here’s what Kate Watson from Dartmouth Centre sent back. [Disclosure: Watson is The Coast’s regular freelance theatre writer, on hiatus from that work during this election.]

———

Why should residents of your district vote for you?

I’m passionate about municipal politics and passionate about Dartmouth. My work as a journalist has taught me to ask questions, find answers and boil information down so it’s easily understood. I am very involved in my community and I work hard to connect people and organizations. Plus, I’m feisty!

What’s something you wish people were talking about more this election?

The importance of diversity in the voices around the table at city hall.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

Susan Sarandon’s ex-husband. (I couldn’t remember his name...it’s Tim Robbins.)

What’s the most accurate criticism someone’s made about you?

Someone sent me a message the other day to say that they had seen me on the news, and that I moved my head too much. (It’s true! I’m an over-animated talker.)

What was the first concert you ever went to?

Simon and Garfunkle at the CNE in Toronto in 1983.

What was the last movie you didn’t finish?
Chicago. I saw it in movie theatres when it came out, but fell asleep the other night while watching it on Netflix.

What pisses you off?

When people don’t spay or neuter their cats.

What’s changed the most in your district since 2012?

There’s been a real influx of young people moving to Dartmouth because it’s affordable and very cool.

What’s a specific moment in politics or your professional life that you really regret?

When I was writing for the Transcontinental’s Weekly News, I was offered the opportunity to do a story where I would get to fly over some wilderness area in a helicopter. I had already committed to covering another event at that time, so I declined. Now I wonder if I’ll ever have another chance to go up in a helicopter.

What’s the last thing that made you really laugh?

From Twitter:
“How to cook the perfect amount of pasta:
1. Pour out how much you think you need

2. Wrong”

What’s your go-to meal when cooking?

Eggs. They’re cheap, easy and versatile. I am an expert poacher.

What worries you the most about the Halifax Regional Municipality and the issues it's facing?

HRM is setting growth targets that could see an extra 50,000 people in the region by 2021, with a majority of them located in the Regional Centre and urban communities. I believe we are going to need to see some significant investment in our aging infrastructure to make this possible.

How would you describe your opponents in this race?

Seven gentlemen.

What’s something you don’t know, but want to learn?

I’d like to learn to speak French well. Right now I can say rudimentary things and conjugate a whack of verbs, but I’d love to be able to really express myself.

What do you promise NOT to do if elected?

I promise to not stop taking transit. I’ll commit to making the bus and ferry part of the way I get around HRM, because I really believe that first-person knowledge is necessary when figuring out how to make transit better.

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

15 questions with District 8 candidate Anthony Kawalski

“Time for a revolution in common sense, adherence to rules and abandonment of the sense of entitlement here.”

Posted By on Sat, Sep 24, 2016 at 4:15 PM

Kawalski can be reached at 902-403-3860 and anthony@kawalski.ca, or via Facebook and Twitter. - VIA CANDIDATE
  • Kawalski can be reached at 902-403-3860 and anthony@kawalski.ca, or via Facebook and Twitter.
  • via candidate

The Coast sent all 53 candidates running in HRM’s municipal election the same 15-question survey in order to help their residents and our readers know a little more about who’s running for council. Here’s what Anthony Kawalski from Halifax Peninsula North sent back.

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Why should residents of your district vote for you?

Because I will be the voice for them, that listens, as I lead us all to a better future.

What’s something you wish people were talking about more this election?

The social issues, that are inequality, fairness, lack of inclusion and diversity on so many levels. Time enough for changing those.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

The deeper context and meaning behind “Peace be upon you” in Arabic.

What’s the most accurate criticism someone’s made about you?

Too passionate about wanting the best for all.

What was the first concert you ever went to?

Hawkwind at the Roundhouse, Camden, London.

What was the last movie you didn’t finish?

A clone of Independence Day. It was a real reason to worry about human cloning. The recombinant DNA of the production team was disintegrating along with the script, acting, et cetera.

What pisses you off?

The waking nightmare of navigating the interaction of pedestrians, cyclists, cars and trucks in our city. Time for a revolution in common sense, adherence to rules and abandonment of the sense of entitlement here.

What’s changed the most in your district since 2012?

The sense of optimism that has accelerated apace with our new mayor, the rebranding, the cranes and the arrival of the Irving shipyard. All of those tinged by the real social issues that continue to remove so many from that perceived optimism.

What’s a specific moment in politics or your professional life that you really regret?

Saying “bless you” to a potential voter. One of my first responses to canvassing, an email entitled “Religion and Politics” berating me for not appreciating his existential views, which are ostensibly mine anyway. My platform message was sadly irrelevant to him in his ire.

What’s the last thing that made you really laugh?
The thought of filling in this survey.

What’s your go-to meal when cooking?

Spaghetti Bolognese—brings me domestic bliss, when I serve it to my husband, Jon.

What worries you the most about the Halifax Regional Municipality and the issues it's facing?

The lack of cohesion in council behind the rural and urban consensus, which compounds the lack of concerted momentum to bring urgent, cogent change. That word again.

How would you describe your opponents in this race?

The three who I started the campaign with—Lindell, Brenden, Chris—I see as a team whom of each, if I were elected, I would wish to work with for advice and input from their respective fields of strength. The others, are simply that—the others, at this stage of where I feel our voters need District 8 to be heading.

What’s something you don’t know, but want to learn?

To add Arabic to my list of poly-lingualism. I wish to do more than say “As-salamu alaykum” to them.

What do you promise NOT to do if elected?

To stop listening to the views and opinions of others whilst forming my position on our collective future.

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15 questions with District 5 candidate Ned Milburn

“There is a Japanese saying...‘Regret doesn't move us forward.’”

Posted By on Sat, Sep 24, 2016 at 3:48 PM

Milburn can be reached at 902-412-8899 and - ned.milburn@yahoo.com, or via Facebook and Twitter. - VIA CANDIDATE
  • Milburn can be reached at 902-412-8899 andned.milburn@yahoo.com, or via Facebook and Twitter.
  • via candidate

The Coast sent all 53 candidates running in HRM’s municipal election the same 15-question survey in order to help their residents and our readers know a little more about who’s running for council. Here’s what Ned Milburn from Dartmouth Centre sent back.

———

Why should residents of your district vote for you?

I bring informed vision through diverse experience. I have worked as an educator in a variety of settings. I have been an advocate and leader in structural reform and labour law compliance while employed as manager on an international team in Japan. I have brought about reform in accounting processes with a multi-million dollar seafood exporter after returning to Canada in 2005. I founded my own business repairing and building guitars, and I co-founded and co-manage an international business with my wife. I have proven my ability to adapt to and thrive in new conditions. I am an analytical and creative problem solver, who has proven his ability to achieve results and communicate effectively in a team setting. I have strong ethics and morals, and am never afraid to advocate for my community, even when it puts me in a position of personal detriment.

What’s something you wish people were talking about more this election?

Crosswalk safety and traffic calming. Plans to stimulate longterm sustainable economic growth through environmental stewardship. This does not mean these are the only issues I am concerned about, but other issues are already well identified.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

I don't Google. I use Yahoo web searches. I recently searched about traffic calming, household size wind turbines and the origami expert "Kamiya" for whom I did live translation at events in the HRM marking 80 years of official ties between Canada and Japan.

What’s the most accurate criticism someone’s made about you?

I am a perfectionist.

What was the first concert you ever went to?

Stevie Ray Vaughan in Sydney, Cape Breton

What was the last movie you didn’t finish?

I don't remember...Something on Netflix.

What pisses you off?

The lack of progress our “leaders” are making in bringing about simple but effective ways to accelerate environmental stewardship at the same time as developing a long term sustainable economy.

What’s changed the most in your district since 2012?

Not a lot. But there are a few more new liked buildings, a few more new disliked buildings and a few new interesting businesses here and there. And snow removal has gotten somewhat worse.

What’s a specific moment in politics or your professional life that you really regret?

I don't really know. There is a Japanese saying, “Koukai wa saki ni tatazu,” which means “Regret doesn't move us forward.” So I don't focus on regret. I focus on what positive change is yet to be made.

What’s the last thing that made you really laugh?

Someone's hilarious comment at the bottom of an internet news article.

What’s your go-to meal when cooking?

Stir fry.

What worries you the most about the Halifax Regional Municipality and the issues it's facing?

Rampant development and infilling of green-space, as well as the accelerated development of new infrastructure before we properly repair and maintain existing infrastructure.

How would you describe your opponents in this race?

I see strengths and weaknesses in everyone including myself, but I don't think it is appropriate to discuss this publicly. It is for residents to assess personally and choose who they feel has the strengths they are looking for in a District 5 councillor.

What’s something you don’t know, but want to learn?

How to install a household size wind/solar combo electric system.

What do you promise NOT to do if elected?

Say, “That's not my responsibility! There's nothing I can do about it."

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Friday, September 23, 2016

15 questions with District 9 candidate Shawn Cleary

“I promise not to implement major programs like snow clearing without public consultation.”

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 1:38 PM

Cleary can be reached at 902-830-7969 and - shawn@shawnclearyhalifax.ca, or via Facebook and Twitter. - VIA FACEBOOK
  • Cleary can be reached at 902-830-7969 andshawn@shawnclearyhalifax.ca, or via Facebook and Twitter.
  • via Facebook

The Coast sent all 53 candidates running in HRM’s municipal election the same 15-question survey in order to help their residents and our readers know a little more about who’s running for council. Here’s what Shawn Cleary from Halifax West Armdale sent back.

———

Why should residents of your district vote for you?

Fresh ideas, new energy, and experience! The incumbent councillor has been at city hall for 16 years and it's time for a change. I'm a business professor, entrepreneur, community volunteer, husband and father. Already, I have worked hard on the future of this city: I sat on the Halifax Public Libraries Board for three years and helped develop the case for our new and amazing Central Library.

What’s something you wish people were talking about more this election?

Accountability, transparency and democracy—especially in the media. I hear these issues on the doorstep, articulated in different ways, but I don't see much in or on the news. Halifax needs campaign finance reform, democratic updating, term limits and input from residents that is heard and respected.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

Halifax Integrated Mobility Plan consultation—because I went to the consultation at Cole Harbour on September 21.

What’s the most accurate criticism someone’s made about you?

I have too many ideas, so I'm starting to prioritize those great ideas into a platform that can be reasonably implemented over the next four to eight years. Check out some on my website.

What was the first concert you ever went to?

The first real concert I attended was U2's “Joshua Tree” in October 1987 at Toronto's CNE stadium.

What was the last movie you didn’t finish?
Zoolander

What pisses you off?

That most councillors seem to pit one district or region against another. Councillors need to push for the needs of their area residents and consider the needs of all parts of HRM. We all need and benefit from vibrant downtowns and main streets, complete communities in our suburbs and sustainable and prosperous rural areas.

What’s changed the most in your district since 2012?

There hasn’t been significant positive change over the last four years, which is one of the reasons I'm running. There are, however, a few (less than positive) changes: more drivers are speeding; our roads are less safe for pedestrians; sidewalk snow clearing was brought in and the service has been terrible and the development process seems even more removed from the average citizen.

What’s a specific moment in politics or your professional life that you really regret?

I regret not putting myself forward four years ago. I think of the progress that could have been made in District 9 and I won’t let this opportunity pass by.

What’s the last thing that made you really laugh?

I re-watched the Ricky Gervais live stand-up show, Animals, a little while ago. I was rolling on the floor through most of it.

What’s your go-to meal when cooking?

Chicken and apple curry with a rice pilaf, especially when I harvest the fresh vegetables in our front garden on Quinpool.

What worries you the most about the Halifax Regional Municipality and the issues it's facing?

That many of the decisions staff and council make are not based on facts or evidence. An example is the transit plan. HRM is looking to change routes and move to more of a transfer-based system, which I applaud, but since we don't have card readers or similar technology (as some other jurisdictions do) we don't know where people get on buses, where they transfer, where they get off, what time of day people are on the bus, and how many are on at any given time. We don't actually have reliable data to base these decisions on. As someone with a long background in research and policy analysis, I would bring evidence-based decision-making to council.

How would you describe your opponents in this race?

Linda Mosher is sincere in her efforts to work for the community. I feel it's enough that I define the difference between us through the ideas I put forward, while letting the public form its own opinion of my political opponent.

What’s something you don’t know, but want to learn?

I want to know the secret to getting corn to grow here in the city. I've talked to gardeners all over the urban core and none of them can get corn stalks to grow more than a few inches. Plus tons of stuff about how our city can work better for the residents of HRM.

What do you promise NOT to do if elected?

I promise not to implement major programs like snow clearing without public consultation.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

15 questions with District 8 candidate Brenden Sommerhalder

“When people are worried that they won’t be able to afford to live in their neighbourhood...it’s a critical problem.”

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 6:05 PM

Contact Sommerhalder at 902-449-6705 and brenden@bsommerhalder.ca, or via Facebook and Twitter. - VIA BRENDEN SOMMERHALDER
  • Contact Sommerhalder at 902-449-6705 and brenden@bsommerhalder.ca, or via Facebook and Twitter.
  • via Brenden Sommerhalder

The Coast sent all 53 candidates running in HRM’s municipal election the same 15-question survey in order to help their residents and our readers know a little more about who’s running for council. Here’s what Brenden Sommerhalder from Halifax Peninsula North sent back.

———

Why should residents of your district vote for you?

For years I’ve been pushing for progressive municipal policy and good governance in Halifax in my job, writing and volunteering. Good policy and good governance are how we will grow into a fairer, greener, more awesome city and I’m asking for my neighbours’ votes so together we can turn ideas into action at City Hall.

What’s something you wish people were talking about more this election?

The province’s inaction on municipal issues. Many of the things most important to our city require partnership with the province (like development, affordable housing, transportation), but the province has been a lousy partner.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

I use Bing. Just kidding. The last thing I Googled was a series of walking distances on Google Maps to make a point about food security in our district (where I live near Devonshire Arena, it’s a 20-minute walk to the nearest grocery store. Try that with groceries and a kid in tow, a few times a week if you don’t have a car).

What’s the most accurate criticism someone’s made about you?

I talk too loud for some settings, sometimes. I get excited!

What was the first concert you ever went to?

It was an outdoor music festival, I think the first band I saw was The Headstones.

What was the last movie you didn’t finish?

Most of them. I almost always fall asleep part way through if I watch them at home. So let’s say, Interstellar. I think I was enjoying it though. (Never choose me for your pop culture trivia team)

What pisses you off?

Cars driving way too fast in pedestrianized and residential areas piss me off. Cool your jets, people.

What’s changed the most in your district since 2012?

The focus on development. Increasingly, people are starting to realize that if we want our neighbourhoods to grow in a sustainable and equitable way that respects the character of existing communities, we need to push for it.

What’s a specific moment in politics or your professional life that you really regret?

I once went to a job interview in jeans, and I really shouldn’t have gone to that job interview in jeans.

What’s the last thing that made you really laugh?

I do a lot of laughing, but the last thing that made me really laugh was an Atlantic Fringe Fest show: “SwordPlay,” by Sex T-Rex.

What’s your go-to meal when cooking?

Veggie stir fry, or tossing something from Getaway Farm onto the barbecue. Quick, nutritious, delicious!

What worries you the most about the Halifax Regional Municipality and the issues it's facing?

Housing affordability. There are many pressing issues in our community, but when people are worried that they won’t be able to afford to live in their neighbourhood (or be able to afford housing at all), it’s a critical problem. No one should have to deal with the possibility of having no home or being pushed out.

How would you describe your opponents in this race?

Really awesome folks. It’s been a pleasure running alongside a group of community leaders.

What’s something you don’t know, but want to learn?

Programming, writing code. I think that having the technical skill of programming can open the doors all kinds of exciting uses for technology, and just having an understanding of how to code can help to realize where some of these opportunities exist.

What do you promise NOT to do if elected?

I promise not to become hard to reach. Councillor is a busy job, but if elected I know it’ll be an expectation of my constituents to be approachable and accessible.

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15 questions with District 5 candidate Tim Rissesco

“We need to build and continue to grow our communities for all demographics and income levels.”

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 11:14 AM

Rissesco can be reached at 902-465-1127 or - tim@timrissesco.ca, and on Facebook and Twitter. - VIA TIM RISSESCO
  • Rissesco can be reached at 902-465-1127 ortim@timrissesco.ca, and on Facebook and Twitter.
  • via Tim Rissesco

The Coast sent all 53 candidates running in HRM’s municipal election the same 15-question survey in order to help their residents and our readers know a little more about who’s running for council. Here’s what Tim Rissesco from Dartmouth Centre sent back.

———

Why should residents of your district vote for you?

I have the experience working in the community and a passion for Dartmouth that makes me well suited to represent the district on Council. I have led the rejuvenation of Downtown Dartmouth over the last four years as the executive director of the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission. I have felt a strong desire to serve the community prior to working Downtown. Over the last decade and a half, I have led Natal Day, organized the Dartmouth Christmas Tree Lighting, raised funds for Margaret’s House, been a member of the Dartmouth Community Health Board, a member of the Shubenacadie Canal Commission, treasurer of the Dartmouth Book Awards, Beaver leader and president of the Dartmouth Kiwanis Club. I have always worked to make my community stronger. Professionally, I have an MBA from Saint Mary’s University and prior to my employment in downtown Dartmouth I spent 14 years in a variety of policy, programming and leadership roles with the Federal Public Service.

What’s something you wish people were talking about more this election?

I would like to see more people talking about building neighbourhood capacity. The municipal level of government is the closest to the people and its decisions often have the greatest impact on our lives, yet people often do not feel part of the conversation or able to effect change in their own neighbourhoods. As the councillor, I will support and encourage neighbourhoods to get more involved in matters that effect them.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

The last thing that I Googled was the Halifax Mooseheads season opener.

What’s the most accurate criticism someone’s made about you?

It has been a fair criticism that I do not exercise enough, but I am making up for it this summer with the walking while canvassing.

What was the first concert you ever went to?

Tom Cochrane in the Green Room in the Dalhousie University Student Union Building in the early 1990s.

What was the last movie you didn’t finish?
Finding Dory.

What pisses you off?

Speeding on side streets. How we handle traffic with respect to neighbourhoods, cyclists and pedestrians is going to be a pressing issue for the next council.

What’s changed the most in your district since 2012?

The rejuvenation of Downtown Dartmouth. It began prior to 2012 with TIBS, Strange Adventures and the Bike Peddlar, but it has taken on new life over the past four years with dozens of new shops, restaurants and the opening of the buildings at King’s Wharf. I have been proud to have been part of it as the executive director of the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission—fostering events to bring people downtown like Switch, outdoor movies, concerts in the park and store promotions.

What’s a specific moment in politics or your professional life that you really regret?

I do not spend a lot of time thinking about regrets. Early in my career, I had opportunities to go to Ottawa and Washington but did not go because we were starting our family and building ties in Dartmouth. They are more of paths not taken as opposed to regrets.

What’s the last thing that made you really laugh?

The Lions Roast of Gloria McCluskey provided a few good laughs. The public face of councillor McCluskey is well known, but the personal side is not. The roasts by her sons and her sisters were both touching and really funny.

What’s your go-to meal when cooking?

BBQ hamburgers.

What worries you the most about the Halifax Regional Municipality and the issues it's facing?

Housing is a concern. The Halifax Regional Municipality needs to address affordability for new home buyers, people who own their own homes on a fixed income and low- and moderate-income earners. We need to examine the costs for first-time home buyers to purchase a home in HRM, the property tax assistance program for low-income earners and ensure that there are residential units in new developments for low- and moderate-income earners both for families and individuals. We need to build and continue to grow our communities for all demographics and income levels.

How would you describe your opponents in this race?

Numerous.

What’s something you don’t know, but want to learn?

I would like to learn how to drive a motorcycle.

What do you promise NOT to do if elected?

If elected, I promise not to forget who elected me. I will answer my own telephone, respond to my own emails and be present in the District. I will listen to the citizens of Dartmouth Centre and be accountable to them.

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