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On the phone with volunteer Renee Field, District 10 

She wants to be an accessible and accountable councillor for her district.

JAMES INGRAM
  • James Ingram
After Renee Field started working as a volunteer in District 10 (Halifax–Bedford Basin West), she formed a neighbourhood watch program in Rockingham that handled the car theft issue, and she chairs a residents’ association where they raised $140,000 in less than two years to redesign DJ Butler Park. Now she wants to take this love for her district to the next level by running for council. “For 20 years I’ve been working doing this behind the scenes, and now it’s time to step forward.”

With her children all grown—the youngest is in Grade 11—she has the time to make her community “the best place to live, work and play,” she says. “My goal is to empower all the communities and to engage them.”

In terms of election issues, she hears that residents are getting tired of cars speeding through residential streets. “They’re not even able to let their children play in the front lawn,” Field says. She’d fix it by coordinating with the traffic and engineering staff. “Have these departments come out to these neighbourhoods and meet with the residents, so they can see the issues for themselves and hear what the residents have to say.”

And the residents definitely have things to add to the conversation. One gave Field the idea to post signs that prohibit cars from coming into the neighbourhood during peak times in the morning. “Sometimes the residents can come up with some great ideas.”

Field, who has worked with different levels of government, says “I have a proven track record of making positive change. That’s a step above what everyone else has on their resume.”

She plans to hold public town hall meetings with residents of the district, to listen to their needs and to be accountable to them,“Because I think the voice of the residents needs to be heard, and it certainly hasn’t been heard for the last number of years.”

Residents have also complained to Field about the lack of affordable and accessible housing in Halifax, a concern that literally hit home when her son returned from Ottawa and couldn't find a one-bedroom apartment for less than $1,800. “He’s like, ‘I can’t afford to live here,’” she says. “We need rent control. We need these things because a lot of people can’t afford housing here. It’s ridiculous!”

If elected, Field plans to be a leader who’s accessible and listens to her constituents. “I am going to form a citizens’ action group. A volunteer citizens’ action group that would meet quarterly,” she says. “That’s something we need. We need that diversity and inclusiveness and I want that engagement.”

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