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District 2 Council candidate answers (print version)

We sent the questions below to the four candidates for the HRM District 2 City Council seats. We asked them to keep their replies to 200 characters for the print edition of the paper, and unlimited space on our website  For the print edition, we edited answers beyond this 200 character limit to fit. If you want to read the candidates' complete answers, then go to this document, where you will find their unedited answers. 

Question 1: What are the top 3 things you are interested in working on in District 2?

David Hendsbee

  1. Moving the Secondary Planning Process forward for our District Growth Centres of Musquodoboit Harbour & Porters Lake
  2. Advancing transportation services such as Rural Express Transit terminal and rural routes
  3. Improving recreational facilities

Gail McQuarrie

  1. Transit
  2. Development/Resource promotion
  3. By Law examination and amendments

Shelley Fashan

  1. Transportation
  2. Youth Initiatives and Education
  3.  Environment

Sydnee McKay

  1. The environment.
  2. Recreation for children and the elderly.
  3. Jobs for the Eastern Shore.

 

Question 2. What do you think should be done to strengthen the representation of the areas of rural HRM?

David Hendsbee

Getting the new HRM Rural Planning Team to have more community consultation outreach when discussing development policies.

Gail McQuarrie

We have several councillors and therefore districts that encompass a large portion of rural HRM. These councillors need to align their interests, come together with their MLA and MP counterparts and work as a group at city hall.

Shelley Fashan

A stronger voice that can communicate effectively building and collaborating with Council and the community.

Sydnee McKay

We should be focusing more on our unique environment. We have much to offer if we think outside of the box. Things such as farming of our fertile lands, using our natural resources for tourism and to produce jobs on the Eastern Shore.

 

Question 3. Do you think the Eastern Shore is paying their fair share of taxes? If no, what do you propose?

David Hendsbee

Yes, with recent tax structure changes, there will not be any more local area rates to pay for capital improvements to our community infrastructure.

Gail McQuarrie

Many of us pay thousands of taxes like a city dweller but only have a small fraction of the services as they do. So yes we do indeed pay our fair share especially considering the lack of services provided.

Shelley Fashan

Yes - for what we receive, we have been paying HRM a lot of tax dollars

Sydnee McKay

I cannot really comment on this. It is more complicated than just answering yes or no. A lot of math needs to go into getting the correct answer to this question. If I am voted in, I will do this math to figure it out more clearly.

 

Question 4. Do you favor abolishing the lot grading permit in rural HRM?

David Hendsbee

Yes—It needs to be revised to exclude Rural HRM.

Gail McQuarrie

I am not a builder and therefore do not claim to have all the answers. But when there are no other homes in close proximity, no rivers or streams and it is evident that water is not going to pool around a house, I am not sure I understand the necessity for this permit!

Shelley Fashan

Yes – In communities where there are no municipal services.

Sydnee McKay

Yes, I am in favour of abolishing the lot grading permit in rural HRM.  I attended and participated in the protest at City Hall on September 20. It was a great victory. Hopefully, now Mr. Savage’s promise will be met.

 

Question 5: Transportation is a huge issue on the Eastern Shore – how can HRM best address the rural transportation issue?

David Hendsbee:

Complete recommended Park & Ride Terminals, implement extensions of Musgo Rider, add fixed loop bus service along Rte#207 with links to Porters Lake and Portland Hills, and finish the widening project on Main street/Hwy #7 in Westphal.

Gail McQuarrie

There are By Laws on the books that impede the development of businesses to promote a bus system that could certainly be efficient and affordable by personal owners. A culmination of the public transit and private sector can accomplish what we need.

Shelley Fashan

Provide better transit service including access a bus services more buses and more often.

Sydnee McKay

Our roads definitely need to be upgraded. This needs to be solved without costing the rural residents undue money and hardship. I hear there are buses already in use that are not paying for themselves, so research has to go into the right place to add transportation.

 

Questions 6: It’s been 20 years since amalgamation. How do you feel the Eastern Shore has fared with amalgamation?

David Hendsbee

Our tax rates have remained rather constant. Fire Stations are fully equipped but we need more firefighters. The local groups and organizations have kept their tax exemption status plus accessed municipal grants. Our community facilities are well maintained but our volunteers need more help.

Gail McQuarrie

Since amalgamation we have gotten little to nothing from City Hall. I do believe Council as a whole needs to act responsibly and take a serious look at the lack of services and re evaluate how services can be provided to a fair and equitable standard.

Shelley Fashan

Not much change or improvement.

Sydnee McKay

I do not feel that we have fared all that good. We do not receive our fair share of benefits and funding. This needs to change.

 

Questions 7: Do you support HRM conducting an independent review of the effects of amalgamation on rural HRM since 1996?

David Hendsbee

Maybe - HRM in collaboration with the Halifax Partnership is now establishing a Halifax Rural Index that will gauge and monitor the economic developments indicators for our area and make comparison to our neighbouring municipalities. For more details – go to: http://www.halifax.ca/boardscom/sccped/documents/halifaxruralindexreportwithattachmentsredacted.pdf

Gail McQuarrie

Amalgamated would work if the wealth were shared. Keep in mind it cost millions of dollars to change signs, letterhead, insignia's etc. when the HRM was renamed. I would much rather have those millions of dollars to promote sand provide services to rural HRM.

Shelley Fashan

Yes, it is important to be able to evaluate and assess any positive impacts or any negative ones.

Sydnee McKay

Yes, I would support this review if the majority of taxpayers were in support it. I would surely go with the majority. We would have to give consideration into the cost of this. We do have amazing resources, which we could use to our advantage.

 

Question 8 Do you support HRM conducting an independent review of the economic implications of the de-amalgamation of what was once Halifax County?

David Hendsbee

No – this is nothing more that hypothetical rhetoric. This would be a futile exercise. It was the Province that forced Amalgamation and they will not undo it.

Gail McQuarrie

The implications for de-amalgamation could be tragic--or with a council willing to invest in rural areas of the county, they could be fantastic. Present councillors seem quite content to sit by and ignore rural HRM.  

Shelley Fashan

Yes, it is important to be able to evaluate and assess any positive impacts or any negative ones.

Syndee McKay

Depending on how much it will cost the taxpayers and if the majority are in agreement that it needs to be done.

 

                                                            -end-

 

 

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