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District 8

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Lindell Smith makes history in Halifax Peninsula North


Newly-elected councillor wins by a landslide in District 8.

Posted By on Sat, Oct 15, 2016 at 11:24 PM

Lindell Smith poses with his daughter while watching the election results come in. - VIA ALEXANDER QUON
  • Lindell Smith poses with his daughter while watching the election results come in.
  • via Alexander Quon


There were cheers and chants of “history in the making” at Lindell Smith’s headquarters as the results came in on election night.


Smith walked away with over half of the votes cast in Halifax Peninsula North, beating six other candidates by a wide margin.

“Just take a moment and look around this room,” Smith, 26, said in his acceptance speech to a packed house at Alteregos Cafe. “There’s not one person that’s the same. This campaign, it’s something that’s never been done in this city. We showed that if we all work together—no matter our backgrounds, no matter our gender, no matter where we come from—we can do it."

Former HRM councillor Patrick Murphy came in second place with around 17 percent of the unofficial results (final vote tallies will be released by HRM on Tuesday). Brenden Sommerhalder was third, followed closely by Chris Poole and Irvine Carvery. Martin Farrell and Anthony Kawalski trailed behind with roughly one percent of the votes each.

As the results came in, Sommerhalder crossed Gottingen Street from his campaign office to join the party with Smith’s team and congratulate the new councillor.

“This has been the most supportive campaign among candidates, I think we will only have positive memories on this campaign,“ Sommerhalder said. “We've always said candidates need to support each other and it will only be true if we continue to after Election Day. So Lindell has my support and he has my assistance. I'm willing to give it.”


The North Memorial Library community worker replaces Jennifer Watts in representing Peninsula North. Watts stepped down after two terms in office while calling for more diversity on council.

Smith becomes the second African-Nova Scotian councillor ever elected to city hall. He follows in the footsteps of Graham Downey, who spent 27 years as an elected representative before losing his seat in 2000.


“This night will forever be marked in the history books," Smith told the crowd at Alteregos. ”We showed that someone like me, an average joe from the community, can make a difference.”

with files from Alexander Quon

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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

15 questions with District 8 candidate Patrick Murphy

“The provincial government [is] not doing their part when it comes to the upkeep of affordable housing”

Posted By on Tue, Oct 4, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Murphy can be reached at patrickmurphynorthend2016@gmail.com, or via Facebook and Twitter. - LENNY MULLINS
  • Murphy can be reached at patrickmurphynorthend2016@gmail.com, 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 Patrick Murphy from Halifax Peninsula North sent back.

———

Why should residents of your district vote for you?

I have a track record of working hard for the district from 2004 to 2008. I've shown a keen interest in the local level of government since 2000, when I first put my name forward for city council, and even before then with community involvement. I have experience working on council, being a voice for the north end in Halifax, and I worked well with other councillors. I am focused on protecting the neighbourhood for good development that fits in with the character of the neighbourhood. I have developed youth strategies and recreational opportunities and I'm committed to continue building a great community for the north peninsula. I have been and will be an advocate for seniors and the those with accessibility challenges.

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

Better transit on the peninsula, focusing on helping the working poor—people who are making their way but not always getting ahead—and engaging our citizens more on what's going on in their city government on a day-to-day basis.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

Montréal Canadiens 2016 roster.

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

I talk too fast and I sometimes mumble like Don Connolly.

What was the first concert you ever went to?

Doobie Brothers at the Metro Centre.

What was the last movie you didn’t finish?

The 14th showing in my house (by my wife) of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

What pisses you off?

Impatient drivers and people throwing cigarette butts on the street.

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

The total bombardment of development without people being engaged in what is going on. Probably the biggest changes since the Halifax explosion.

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

Not getting 213 more people out to vote in 2008.

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

My campaign team, everyday—they make me laugh and cry.

What’s your go-to meal when cooking?

Peanut butter sandwiches.

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

The type of growth and development we have, the provincial government not doing their part when it comes to the upkeep of affordable housing and building more affordable housing, the size of the electoral districts in the municipality and the resources to serve them properly.

How would you describe your opponents in this race?

All seem to have a genuine interest in serving the municipality.

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

I'd like to learn more French.

What do you promise NOT to do if elected?

I promise not to get too wrapped up in too many committees to the point of negatively impacting my ability to spend time with the people I was elected to serve.

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Monday, October 3, 2016

15 questions with District 8 candidate Chris Poole

“We need to be talking more about public schools and how they fit within the Centre Plan.”

Posted By on Mon, Oct 3, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Poole can be reached at 902-489-4964 and chris@chrispoole.ca, or via Facebook and Twitter. - VIA CANDIDATE
  • Poole can be reached at 902-489-4964 and chris@chrispoole.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 Chris Poole from Halifax Peninsula North sent back.

———

Why should residents of your district vote for you?

My family and I are part of this community. I am passionate, dedicated, hard working and would be a strong voice for all residents of the district. I currently serve on Mulgrave Park Caring and Learning Centre, North End Daycare and Northern lights Lantern festival boards, volunteer at our local school on various levels from SAC, Home and School, fundraising events and more. I care deeply for our district and the importance of having District 8 be a strong leader within the city of Halifax and all of HRM.

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

The Centre Plan—it's an integral part of our future and how our communities are going to grow for the foreseeable future. We need to be talking more about public schools and how they fit within the Centre Plan.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

Head-movement controlled wheel chairs. This is from a discussion with a resident who has a disability that currently has her confined to a wheel chair and in the not-so-distant future she will need this. I need to find out more about it so I can help see if there is any kind of funding initiatives out there for her.

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

I tend to be too passionate and have been known to speak out a little too much. I personally think it is a good quality. Just sayin'.

What was the first concert you ever went to?
Megadeath/Testament and Judas Priest farewell tour.

What was the last movie you didn’t finish?
The Big Short. I am about 90 percent finished, but I fell asleep on the couch. The only time I really get to sit down and relax is generally after 10pm, so it normally takes a couple of attempts to finish a movie.

What pisses you off?

When people jump on a "band wagon" for something just because it's the current thing to do.

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

Development. I imagine this is a common answer all over the peninsula, not just District 8.

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

For the most part I don’t look back with regret in my life. I like to learn from different challenges and experiences and move on with positive solutions. I have found that over the years as I get more involved in volunteering with community organizations, the more I wish I had been involved earlier.

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

Jay Dahl's short film, Throw Rock. This was recently screened at AFF Short Film Gala.

What’s your go-to meal when cooking?

Hamburgers. I love a good cheeseburger.

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

The large amount of development without having a concrete plan for the future! Don’t get me wrong. I love development and think it is such an important part of this district’s future. But it needs to be smart development done with the local residents and businesses to ensure it enhances our community both in the short term and long term.

How would you describe your opponents in this race?

First of all, I don’t think of them as opponents. I know most of the candidates and I think they are a great committed group of people. We are all working together for the betterment of our community and I genuinely feel we all have the best intentions for Halifax Peninsula North and HRM.

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

Professionally, I want to figure out how to increase public engagement for municipal and school board level matters. Personally, I would love to have the time to sit down and learn auto mechanics and how to develop apps.

What do you promise NOT to do if elected?

I promise NOT to become complacent and I promise NOT to stop talking to and for residents about their concerns/ideas and how to best address them.

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The war for Halifax Peninsula North

All the candidates and issues facing District 8 this election.

Posted By on Mon, Oct 3, 2016 at 4:00 AM

Everything north of Cornwallis Street along the water comprises District 8, which then continues up Cogswell and Quinpool, before heading down Oxford and then west all the way to the Bedford Highway. Click here for HRM’s boundary description. - AKIRA ARRUDA
  • Everything north of Cornwallis Street along the water comprises District 8, which then continues up Cogswell and Quinpool, before heading down Oxford and then west all the way to the Bedford Highway. Click here for HRM’s boundary description.
  • AKIRA ARRUDA

The north end is changing. That’s been the thesis statement used over and over as new developments rise up on the northern half of the peninsula, while longtime residents move out. In the wake of all this upheaval, seven candidates have stepped forward trying to replace outgoing councillor Jennifer Watts at City Hall. One of them will be handed the reins on October 15 to steer Peninsula North towards a smarter, more inclusive future. Let’s hope they’re up to the challenge.

Eligible voters: 19,835 (as of 2014)
(Up about 100 people from 2012)
Past voter turnout: 37.99 percent

The Candidates
Watts made the call for a more diverse council when she announced she wouldn’t be re-offering back in the spring. Enter Brenden Sommerhalder. The director of marketing for the Downtown Halifax Business Commission and Halifax Bloggers founder, like it or not, evokes the image of the upwardly mobile young professional at home in the new north end. Don’t let that fool you. Sommerhalder has an expert knowledge of city hall procedure and was front-and-centre trying to stop the Homes Not Hondas demolition a few months ago. But now he’s up against Lindell Smith. Like Sommerhalder, Smith emerged early in this race with an organized, professional campaign. The Centreline co-founder and youth programmer for the Halifax North Memorial library grew up in Uniacke Square and has made a career (and now campaign) of getting area youth involved in their community. And those are just the first two names on a deep roster of candidates. Former school board representative and community activist Chris Poole, along with the English-born artist Anthony Kawalski, have been hard at work since the summer. Some late additions to the ballot just before HRM’s September filing deadline included heavy hitters like former HRM councillor Patrick Murphy, and the perpetually campaigning Irvine Carvery. The district’s seventh candidate, Martin Farrell is less well-known then his opponents, but he’d almost have to be.

The Issues
The problem of an election without an incumbent is that no one’s being challenged during the campaign. The candidates in District 8 have not only been jovial with each other through this race, but—save some minor differences—they’ve largely been on the same page about the district’s unprecedented growth, changing demographics and housing affordability problems. That’s good, given the history of the area and the repeating stories of longtime residents priced out of their neighbourhoods. Anyone who wins this race will have a mountain of problems to sort through—some of which are HRM’s responsibility (senior programs, schools, the Centre Plan), and some of which aren’t, but will still need councillor support regardless (the city’s housing crisis, healthcare). Most of all, the next councillor for Peninsula North needs to listen. They need to make the time to hear from the district’s residents and the communities that can otherwise be so easily overlooked at Regional Council.

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


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Sunday, October 2, 2016

15 questions with District 8 candidate Lindell Smith

“This is home to me and I want to ensure that our district grows in ways that benefit the people who live here.”

Posted By on Sun, Oct 2, 2016 at 4:12 PM

Smith can be reached at 902-704-1567 and info@lindellsmithhfx.ca, or via Facebook and Twitter. - LENNY MULLINS
  • Smith can be reached at 902-704-1567 and info@lindellsmithhfx.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 Lindell Smith from Halifax Peninsula North sent back.

———

Why should residents of your district vote for you?

District 8 is where I’m from and I want to be a strong voice on council for our area. I have experience consulting with government and community organizations, leading initiatives that strengthen partnerships between businesses and residents in the district and working on projects that involve allocating funds to community groups and young entrepreneurs. This is home to me and I want to ensure that our district grows in ways that benefit the people who live here.

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

The importance of engaging young people and encouraging them to get involved at the municipal level.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

Vancouver's living-wage policy.

What’s the most accurate criticism someone’s made about you?
I spend too much of my time focusing on how to help others.

What was the first concert you ever went to?

Snoop Dogg in Sydney, Cape Breton.

What was the last movie you didn’t finish?
The Martian

What pisses you off?

People who manipulate facts. Oh, and when my daughter leaves empty juice containers in the fridge.

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

The amount of development for sure, but also the number of young people who aren’t involved in community programs or using resources that were created for them.

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

I wish I spent a bit more time focusing on my personal well being.

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

Seeing the #ItsThyme Gimlet on Lion & Bright’s cocktail menu!

What’s your go-to meal when cooking?

Chicken Parmesan with bow-tie pasta. *Yummm*

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

I  fear that old planning policies will continue to catch up with us and create an infrastructure nightmare. I also worry that there won’t be an increase in supports for HRM staff, making it difficult to get more done.

How would you describe your opponents in this race?

Many.

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

I’d like to learn more about astronomy.

What do you promise NOT to do if elected?

Forget the people who got me elected.

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Saturday, October 1, 2016

15 questions with District 8 candidate Irvine Carvery

“It's a mad rush for increased density.”

Posted By on Sat, Oct 1, 2016 at 3:30 PM

Carvery can be reached at 902-492-0253 - and tcarvery@hotmail.com. - VIA CANDIDATE
  • Carvery can be reached at 902-492-0253 and tcarvery@hotmail.com.
  • 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 Irvine Carvery from Halifax Peninsula North sent back.

———

Why should residents of your district vote for you?

Experience, knowledge of issues, ability to work with people to gain consensus.

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

Diversity, affordable housing and development.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

“HRM Centre Plan.”

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

Involved in too many issues.

What was the first concert you ever went to?
Symphony NS.

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

What pisses you off?

Lack of sensitivity in development.

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

Loss of affordable housing.

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

None.

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

My grandson.

What’s your go-to meal when cooking?

Curry shrimp and rice.

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

It's a mad rush for increased density.

How would you describe your opponents in this race?

Nice.

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

How to play guitar.

What do you promise NOT to do if elected?

Be inaccessible.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Development problems dominate Peninsula North candidates forum

Council hopefuls describe their plans to keep District 8 from falling apart.

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 11:20 PM

Some of the last remnant of Homes, now Hondas. - VIA ANTHONY KAWALSKI

The municipality needs to do a better job protecting north end communities from poor planning choices. 
That was the central message from the candidates for District 8 during a forum held Tuesday night at Dalhousie University.

Around 60 people attended the presentation from six of the seven candidates for Halifax Peninsula North. Irvine Carvery, Anthony Kawalski, Patrick Murphy, Chris Poole, Lindell Smith and Brenden Sommerhalder (Martin Farrell had a prior engagement) were all largely in agreement that the region’s rapid growth and haphazardly deployed planning regulations are creating havoc on the lives of District 8 residents.


“When the policy doesn’t match what the people want, or the people aren’t able to comprehend the policy, then you have just disasters,” said Smith.

“The bylaws are there for a reason,” said Poole, about HRM's policy to ignore its own land-use regulations.


Sommerhalder stressed that the city’s upcoming Centre Plan needs to be following to the letter, and can’t contain exemptions like the kind that allowed the colossal Nova Centre to be approved.


The Downtown Halifax Business Commission spokesperson agreed with most of the other candidates that council should refrain from spot development approvals—like the 29-storey tower planned for the corner of Quinpool and Robie—and adhere to the municipality’s established land-use bylaws.


Smith challenged that point, though, arguing that inflexible bylaws are what lead to council’s hands being tied on the as-of-right demolitions around Homes Not Hondas.

“You need to be able to change,” said Smith. “We put these rules in place so they’re there, but there are times we need to step outside of that to maintain our communities.”

In order to stop a bad development proposal from altering a neighbourhood, however, a councillor would need to be in tune with their community, work with HRM staff and be able to convince their fellow councillors to vote along with them—none of which are easy tasks.


“You have to have the support of other councillors to make things happen in your neighbourhood,” said former councillor Patrick Murphy, lamenting his own failed efforts to vote against the sale of the Bloomfield Centre. “It still looks the same as when I left.”

“Staff reports don’t come from nowhere,” said Sommerhalder, suggesting he’d be active in shepherding policies through city hall before anything comes to council. “If you’re tuned in and active...you’ll see these intersection points and you can insert yourself as a councillor into these conservations.”

Other promises from Tuesday’s forum included: a percentage of each new development set aside for affordable housing, as suggested by Chris Poole; Anthony Kawalski’s plans for the creation of a “mini council” to report on residents’ concerns to overworked municipal councillors; Sommerhalder’s call for more/smaller community councils; a five-year cooling off period for all senior HRM staff that Irvine Carvery hoped would prevent another exit like Richard Butts’; and Patrick Murphy’s idea of mentorship programs for elementary school children to learn practical skills like plumbing and carpentry.


The full candidates forum was recorded and will air this Friday, September 30 at 4pm on CKDU 88.1FM.


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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.

———

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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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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