ith two terms under his belt, downtown Halifax councillor Waye Mason has become well-known for his city planning knowledge, protecting historic buildings and going to bat with the province on some major issues.
“One of the ones that I’m delighted about was fighting the province over the poorly planned-out parking garage, and stopping that in the Common,” says the incumbent candidate for District 7 (Halifax South Downtown) “I still wish that the entire garage was on the other side of the street, but at least it’s way smaller and it no longer ruins the Wanderer’s Grounds and Bengal Lancers.”
But Mason’s plan for the next four years is to focus on issues council can address by themselves, like they did with housing just last month
“After eight years of this I’m trying to really focus on, ‘what can the municipality do that doesn’t require the province?’” Mason says in a Friday afternoon chat with The Coast he sandwiched between replying to constituent’s emails and participating in an online debate hosted by the SMU student association.
But the District 7 councillor says the provincial government still has a lot of power. “In Nova Scotia where the politics at the provincial level are so parochial and they’re so much in control in the premier’s office and in the legislature, municipal politicians end up asking the province for changes all the time, there’s just no way around it.”
Although COVID-19 means he’s not knocking on doors, Mason’s counting on his experience and voting record to give him the win.
“I have helped guide decisions on council for the last eight years and my residents know what to expect from me, they know that if there’s work that needs to be done they can get a hold of me and count on me to get that work done,” he says.
Mason talks about bus rapid transit and ferry service, greening the municipality, and equity and low-income programs as some of his priorities for the next four years, and he’s hopeful the newly elected council will agree.
“There are a lot of people retiring that I have a great deal of respect for, but our politics don’t really align,” he says. “And I’m hopeful that we’ll pick up another couple of kind of progressive councillors who care about planning. And that it will be easier to adopt and defend good plans in Halifax.”