THE FULL CANDIDATE QUESTIONS

Nova Scotia’s municipal elections are on October 15. We asked all our local (Windsor to Middleton) Mayoral candidates to answer a few questions presented by our readers. We printed a selection of the questions we gathered from the community, paired with a selection of the responses from the local candidates who responded. Below you’ll find the full list of questions and answers. We asked the candidates to keep to 50 words per answer. Some replied to more than one question with their answer, in which case, we’ve printed the answer twice. 


1. From Laura: What do you plan to do to address the poverty in our area, food security issues, housing issues, etc?

ANNA ALLEN, Candidate for Mayor of Windsor:
Housing- this topic is near and dear to me because I initiated the Affordable Housing effort in the Town of Windsor before I left office and continue to sit on the Town housing committee. There is great need in our broader community for affordable housing. Efforts continue to support developers willing to take these projects on in town. While campaigning, I also recognize that is an opportunity for housing to accommodate those ready to leave their homes but not ready for assisted living yet.While some issues may not be in the municipal mandate we are responsible to try and make the environment accommodating for the efforts of others.

RICK ACKLAND, Candidate for Mayor of Kings County:
We need to increase the prosperity of this county so that all might benefit. The opportunity exists right now to create new jobs and to lower taxes. Our perceived disadvantages have to be turned to strengths. I have lived my life this way and have sincere faith that we can make lives better by focusing on fixing things now! Putting bread on tables, and heat in homes is not an option; it is a mandate.

PETER MUTTART, Candidate for Mayor of Kings County:
First, acknowledge that the problems you identify are real. The more we allow them to be ignored, the less able we are, as a caring society, to be part of the solution. Next, engage our partners: church groups, volunteer organizations, farm organizations, other levels of government AND THE PEOPLE most directly affected. No one person or organization has the solution. Indeed, solutions cannot be imposed, they must be arrived at collaboratively and embraced by all partners, always including those directly impacted. Together, we can start a revolution in addressing effective solutions to both issues. Municipal government leaders can facilitate much of this, but if we think we have all of the answers, we need to get over ourselves.

DAVE CORKUM, Candidate for Mayor of Kentville:
Poverty. Public housing has been supported by this Council and I by donating a building lot to Habitat for Humanity.Ensuring our Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use Bylaw encourages housing developments of all shapes and sizes will assist with the development of mixed housing. Public housing is a core financial responsibility of the Province of Nova Scotia and not Municipal Government in Nova Scotia. As a board member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities we’re are pushing the federal government for a housing strategy.

SANDRA SNOW, Candidate for Mayor of Kentville:
Laura, I do not have the full picture on the issues and first and foremost I need information. I would bring together the groups and people who are most closely involved with these issues. Once we have the necessary information, I will work towards a coordinated plan to get the most benefit from our funding and efforts to begin addressing the issues and work on solutions.


2. From Shelley: Are you willing to work collaboratively with other municipalities to create an active transportation/public transit system that will work for all residents to open up options for employment and housing?

ANNA ALLEN, Candidate for Mayor of Windsor:
Transportation- I have been a strong proponent for affordable transportation in our district for many years. Stronger and more collaborate efforts need to be made by those involved in funding and providing this service.

RICK ACKLAND, Candidate for Mayor of Kings County:
Yes. Working in a collaborative and congenial way is exactly what is required.

PETER MUTTART, Candidate for Mayor of Kings County:
Absolutely! Indeed, I give credit to municipal leaders in this Valley who have already begun the process. Kings Transit is no small achievement. Developing an active transportation network through our cross-Canada rails-to-trails initiative must continue. Where at all possible, bike lanes should be created. Those municipalities and senior governments that have not yet totally bought into (or recognized the value of) active transportation and public transit, must be encouraged to do so. If one is to lead, (s)he must step up and be heard on these issues.

DAVE CORKUM, Candidate for Mayor of Kentville:
Kentville has done their part and will continue to support a regional active transportation route.  A continuous trail has been established from Wolfville through to Annapolis County.  Improved directional signage on our Kentville Trails will be installed this Fall under the leadership of myself and this Council.  More paving of the trails is a priority of mine.

SANDRA SNOW, Candidate for Mayor of Kentville:
Shelley, the short answer is yes. I am prepared to cooperate with the surrounding community to enhance the greater Kentville area. Alone we barely make a dent on the issues, together we can be a community that takes care of all of its community.


3. From Brenda: The economy of this area benefits significantly from local arts and culture. How do you propose supporting this vibrant but undervalued segment of the economy?

ANNA ALLEN, Candidate for Mayor of Windsor:
Arts community- As a strong proponent of supporting our Arts community I would continue to do so by the necessary means they identify. The value in Hants County alone is amazing and it continues grow. We are fortunate here to have an active group supporting each other for others to enjoy.

RICK ACKLAND, Candidate for Mayor of Kings County:
I believe that we need the arts to enrich our lives and also to give them meaning. They are also one of the ways we communicate who we are to each other and the world at large.

PETER MUTTART, Candidate for Mayor of Kings County:
First, we must step out in front of the ‘podiums’ and recognize the fact that much of who we are in our heart and minds stems from the value we derive from what we describe as ‘arts and culture’ – although that phrase does not, somehow, do justice to what we mean: graphic art, crafts, potters, theatre, dance, music, etc., etc. Many here in the Valley are blessed with artistic talents. I so often regret that I am not one of them; but I and many like me would not be the same personalities if we had not the privilege of personal exposure to the arts. As a general community, we do celebrate, encourage and support the arts – but we do not give enough public recognition to the value that the artistic community brings us. How does a Municipal Government facilitate or rectify that? I don’t know. But, as you might be able to tell from what I have said, I am willing to listen to the community that does know, in order that we can give proper visibility and viability to arts and culture. They are defining value in our community.

DAVE CORKUM, Candidate for Mayor of Kentville:
The installation of the Charles Eaves Statue and the ongoing support of the UncommonCommon Art program are signs of recent support to the arts.  I commit to future policy and creation of public spaces for the display of community Art.  Keeping up the support of our outdoor theatre at Oakdene Park and Center Stage will remain a priority.

SANDRA SNOW, Candidate for Mayor of Kentville:
Brenda, let’s start by celebrating the arts, there should be art everywhere in our daily lives. Imagine small pop-up galleries in vacant storefronts. Consider an art show in Centre Square once a week during the summer, no fee for artists, everybody welcome. A gallery in Kentville would be wonderful, the lobby of the Cornwallis Inn for example.


4. From John: The Ivany Report spelled out the need for people and communities to work together to build our economy. If you believe the economy needs stimulation, what specific action would you promote when elected to serve your community?

ANNA ALLEN, Candidate for Mayor of Windsor:
One of my favorite topics is the report, Building Our New Economy.It cannot be ignored and certainly the Municipal Governance in our province needs to change. It is clearly identified in the report that we are over governed. I believe a full study on how to accomplish this is a first order of business on any council agenda in the province. Locally, we should be instrumental in deciding our future or are we leaving it to others to make critical changes?

RICK ACKLAND, Candidate for Mayor of Kings County:
I would reach out to all agencies of government and to other parties practically interested (including investors) in improving our economy and seek their active co-operation in a forum aimed at achieving very short term, tangible and measurable  proposals for investment  and development of the community.

PETER MUTTART, Candidate for Mayor of Kings County:
One of the reasons that I chose this particular leadership path was to apply my best efforts to encourage everyone to address what I feel are serious impediments to our success economically and socially. I am very frustrated with things that I perceive (forgive me for imposing my ideals) to be holding us back: economically, socially, and individually. Municipal governments operate in silos; none being open to the other. Councils are far too concerned with back-yard turf to look up and see our horizons. As communities working together, we can achieve great things, because we have great assets (our land, businesses, culture and people). There is no room in this life for petty jealousies or turf-protection. If you drop a rock in this Valley, the ripples are sent out to every Town and County. Silos do not promote growth within them. They inhibit growth from entering them. When I leave Starrs Point in the a.m., I drive through Port Williams, Wolfville (for coffee), Greenwich, New Minas and Kentville (to the office). Honestly, John, I did not notice any difference in the air, the land or the people over those two Towns, two Villages and the Municipality. We are inter-dependent. Let’s behave accordingly.

DAVE CORKUM, Candidate for Mayor of Kentville:
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business publishes its Entrepreneurial Communities Report every year providing an index of The Best Communities in Canada to do Business.  They will soon be announcing that the Town of Kentville has made it into the top 10 of 121 commmunities in our rankings.  What better evidence is there that under my leadership and the work of Council and staff that we are on the right track and “investment ready”.

SANDRA SNOW, Candidate for Mayor of Kentville:
John, let’s start by being open for business. We have a number of entrepreneurs in our midst who go about their daily business without much support. Let’s not only support a vibrant entrepreneur economy, let’s provide small start-up grants and loans. Perhaps we could provide an avenue to encourage partnering and mentoring. The Kentville Makery is an ideal place where an entrepreneur could set-up once a week to “show off” their wares.


5. From Nathan: Tell me your plans to better your community and those around it? Don’t tell me why I shouldn’t vote for the other candidate, tell me why I should vote for you.

ANNA ALLEN, Candidate for Mayor of Windsor:
Dedicated, passionate and experienced leadership is what I bring to the council chambers.Serving 17 years previously has given me what this town needs now to move forward to be the best that we can, reaching our full potential. Tough decisions have to be made such as amalgamation, affordable services and priority setting. These next four years will need full time commitment to reaching our collaborative goals. Knowledge is powerful and we all need to be informed citizens to make the right decisions.

RICK ACKLAND, Candidate for Mayor of Kings County:
I would like to believe that I am kind.  (Please also see Rickackland.com)

PETER MUTTART, Candidate for Mayor of Kings County:
Look around us. You will see areas of our communities that need a hand-up. Allocate enough of our resources to give them a foot-hold and TALK to them about how we can work for and WITH them to realize full potential. We all deserve to live in an area where we can proudly say “I helped make this a great spot to live!’. Review my answers to the other questions from Shelly, Brenda and John. IF you accept what I believe and what I want to accomplish – then vote for me. If not, then vote for the candidate that you align with morally and rationally – but please do vote. Inadequate candidates are elected by concerned citizens who do not vote.

DAVE CORKUM, Candidate for Mayor of Kentville:
I promise to…..work hard to continue the trend to hold residential tax rates, work hard with the business community to continue developing our downtown, continue to make senior and youth concerns a priority, continue the police presence downtown and maintain our #1 Town in Nova Scotia Standing and strong Recreation Facilities.

SANDRA SNOW, Candidate for Mayor of Kentville:
Nathan, I want to revitalize Oakdene Park with the help of neighbourhood volunteers, it is a gem in the rough. The Kentville Rotary prepared a report in 2006, stating that the park should be improved. By making a go-to place for the neighbourhood, we provide citizens with green space, recreation and a gathering place. We demonstrate that everybody matters. A beautiful park encourages people to live and buy in a neighbourhood, it would also increase the market values in the area.


6. From Daisy: What is the #1 thing you wish to see happen … and how are you going to deliver on this. Specifics please. Not bafflegab.

ANNA ALLEN, Candidate for Mayor of Windsor:
Citizen engagement is important in setting priorities. Windsor’s Integrated Community Sustainability Plan has set the move forward plan that engaged our citizens.” Together we can make a difference” is my tag line. Planning our governance structure will be a big undertaking and communication will be critical in the citizens knowing the full impact of what ever direction we take.

RICK ACKLAND, Candidate for Mayor of Kings County:
Jobs! I know very well that trust is in short supply but I need to be able to have access to the rooms and the people who are in a position to bring them here. When I shake hands with someone they don’t have to count their fingers! Business is often based on trust. We are good people and the argument I can make for us is a persuasive one.

PETER MUTTART, Candidate for Mayor of Kings County:
Here we are at only question #6 and I fear that I am about to start repeating myself – perhaps because I my answers have been too long… My number 1 priority (only because this must be in place before we can effectively accomplish ANY of the other priorities) actually has several parts to it:

  1. Participate with all members of the new council in a structured session on effective ‘board’ training and agree on polite, productive and participatory procedures for debate around the table.
  2. Reach out to our Villages and neighbouring Towns and Municipalities to open lines of easy and productive communication, eliminating (or at least reducing) perceived ‘threats’ and maximizing mutual opportunities.
  3. Make it known to our citizens that we acknowledge that we, as politicians, do not have many of the answers and are willing and anxious to provide forums for informal discussion and input from our citizens. We have amazing human resources in the Valley; and we don’t even invite or encourage input. That will, I hope, will change.

DAVE CORKUM, Candidate for Mayor of Kentville:
Maintain the healthy financial condition of the Town.  Responsible service levels, lower tax rates for residential, commercial and industrial properties and a competitive business environment are the key contributors to a healthy quality of life for Kentville residents.  This takes the experience I have as well as my ability to stay in touch with the community and change with the times.

SANDRA SNOW, Candidate for Mayor of Kentville:
Daisy, cut out the council entitlements and establish a set of working policies which make council responsible and accountable to the public. If your foundation is not solid, you cannot rebuild a solid community.


7. From John: Citizen engagement is based on the belief that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process and that their contribution will influence the decision. This often comes into play in the planning and development process. Citizens can make communities work more effectively because they understand their own neighbourhoods better than anyone else. If you believe citizen engagement is a vital key in the decision process how would you promote the need for such activity in your community?

ANNA ALLEN, Candidate for Mayor of Windsor:
Windsor has had success in engaging the public by ensuring those most directly effected are invited for specific topics. The results are recorded, shared with the participants and it is an open session for anyone to attend and see the results. Town websites etc. are very useful tools today in keeping the citizens informed being accountable to its citizens.

RICK ACKLAND, Candidate for Mayor of Kings County:
I am trying to do exactly what you are asking for. Our community has residents volunteering very day which is one of the reasons I believe this is the last best place. I have not (and will not) take any financial support from anyone and am accordingly totally free to do only what is right. I  would like to see how technology may make more meaningful  engagement by residents possible. It seems to me that you must have to have considered the question yourself and I would invite you to contact the council to make your views known.

PETER MUTTART, Candidate for Mayor of Kings County:
There – I knew this would happen. I am indeed starting to repeat myself ☺. However, I can add to what I told Daisy. Our citizens have cried out for this opportunity for years. Before I came to Council, a committee of citizens who were acknowledged to be somewhat expert in the field of public engagement structures, met for months and provided to Council a detailed document entitled “Principles for Community Participation”. The CAO of the municipality was then directed by Council to build on and finalize those principles. That would give us a guideline, available to everyone, showing our intent and guiding the participation process in a way that citizens themselves had developed. That document was altered in a way that the originators do not agree with – but we have good hard work that we can revisit and good hard-working citizens that we can re-engage. In the meantime, we know innately how to do this (and why it must be done), so we just need to get on with it. Public engagement and participation is, frankly, an absolute necessity if we are to progress properly. Public engagement, at the end of the day, means that your elected representatives have heard you before the make a decision. You, in turn, must then trust them to exercize their consciences (and brains) to arrive at the right decision. That is what you have elected them to do.

DAVE CORKUM, Candidate for Mayor of Kentville:
Community engagement is critical for all levels of government.  It starts with who you elect to represent the interests of the community.  You know Dave Corkum is committed, is active, participates in all community events, walks the streets each day and talks to the people of Kentville everyday while I’ve been in office and not just during election time.  Live Streaming Council meetings is an additional commitment to improve accessibility to Council Chambers and the public decision making process.

SANDRA SNOW, Candidate for Mayor of Kentville:
John, I would take it one step further, no only do we need engagement we need to empower citizens to make the changes, build the playgrounds, or pick up the garbage on the streets, etc. We need to have an open-door policy, where people can have their say without fear of reprisals. We citizen advisory committees must be stood-up, where their voices and decisions become the action. We need to learn from the past and build a plan for the future. Citizens own that plan, it is the only way to move it forward and succeed.


8. From the Eastern Kings Community Health Board: Think about the different age groups within your constituents…how will you ensure you can reach and engage with everyone? (i.e. one size approach does not fit all) 

ANNA ALLEN, Candidate for Mayor of Windsor:
Windsor has had success in engaging the public by ensuring those most directly effected are invited for specific topics. The results are recorded, shared with the participants and it is an open session for anyone to attend and see the results. Town web sites etc. are very useful tools today in keeping the citizens informed being accountable to its citizens.

RICK ACKLAND, Candidate for Mayor of Kings County:
I am not presently sufficiently knowledgeable, nor do I have the requisite expertise to answer these questions in the way they deserve. I am not an elected official and do not have access to the information or parties whom I would need to speak to and learn from. If I am elected I shall seek to act with wisdom and that may just be by understanding that I am very likely not necessarily the smartest person in the room but we will be ok if I can find them!

PETER MUTTART, Candidate for Mayor of Kings County:
I sat with an elderly couple (bearing in mind that I am no pup myself) at a coffee shop in Greenwood two weeks ago and indicated my candidacy. I asked whether they had any concerns they wanted to discuss. The husband began to think about the question. The wife immediately leaned forward and said “I want to know what you are going to do for the seniors!” I responded: “I don’t know, because I frankly don’t know at the moment what you, as a senior, need that is within my wheel-house to provide. But I guarantee that I will give you something that you have never been given before: I will provide you (seniors) with the opportunity to discuss your concerns with us, to educate us and to work with us in doing for you what is within our wheel-house and to advocate for you to other levels of government regarding those things with which we are not able to directly assist.” Similarly I would strive to see that we as a Council are proactive in seeking input from each age constituency: seniors, millennials and youth. I refer you to my earlier comments to Daisy and John regarding the engagement process.

DAVE CORKUM, Candidate for Mayor of Kentville:
I am routinely found in the public schools, community events, senior’s facilities, farmers markets, a member and regular attendee at service club meetings and sporting events for all ages.  Being in touch with the community by being out in the community is my greatest commitment.  Additional use of technology reaching all ages including “Silver Surfers” is critical this day in age.  I will ensure public wifi expands in Kentville as well as the Town’s use of social media.

SANDRA SNOW, Candidate for Mayor of Kentville:
EKCHB, agreed, equity! The two ends of the spectrum, youth and senior have come up most as I campaign door-to-door. We should have a senior council to consider how we keep our seniors in our Town, how we make our town accessible and how we provide for seniors to continue an active life. There is also a requirement for a youth council, which spans a much broader spectrum. Engaging youth as they become more independent, providing healthy activity choices for them, whether it is sports, recreation, the library or a meeting place. Engaging young adults as they start to make career choices, are there options here? Do we have mentors available, folks who have retired but would still be interested in providing information about potential careers. Support to young entrepreneurs, new enterprise/innovation, or providing paid internships.


9. From the Eastern Kings Community Health Board: Many municipalities give out funding to different groups…what would you do to ensure the process is open and transparent, addresses the community in the broader sense, links to municipal plans, and is accountable to the taxpayers? 

ANNA ALLEN, Candidate for Mayor of Windsor:
I don’t believe this has been an issue in Windsor.It has been an open and transparent process and certainly it needs to be linked to priorities.

RICK ACKLAND, Candidate for Mayor of Kings County:
I am not presently sufficiently knowledgeable, nor do I have the requisite expertise to answer these questions in the way they deserve. I am not an elected official and do not have access to the information or parties whom I would need to speak to and learn from. If I am elected I shall seek to act with wisdom and that may just be by understanding that I am very likely not necessarily the smartest person in the room but we will be ok if I can find them!

PETER MUTTART, Candidate for Mayor of Kings County:
I personally find this to be a difficult area to address. Presently Council has two streams of Grants – each of which qualify based upon formal written applications with supporting materials:

  1. Grants to Organizations: intended to assist organizations that provide a community service that might otherwise fall to local government to provide if it were not for the great volunteer work done by the organization; and
  2. Grants from a fund we refer to as the Municipal Economic Development Fund (MEDF): intended to assist with events or enterprises that add economic value (directly and by ‘spin-off’) to the municipality.

Both processes are well-founded and fair, so long as the principles are adhered to and the definitions are not stretched beyond what is reasonable. Everything Council does in this regard is dictated by the amount that has been budgeted to the Funds.

DAVE CORKUM, Candidate for Mayor of Kentville:
Offering a fair and equitable process for groups to apply for public funding is the first steps regardless of the funding available.  A Grants Policy currently exists making the application process fair.  Additional promotion to groups that may not be aware of this policy is a commitment from me as well as maintaining or increasing the levels of funding to such groups.  The Hospice, Indoor Soccer Facility, Centre Stage Theatre, Sports groups and Big Brothers are just a few of the current examples of support.

SANDRA SNOW, Candidate for Mayor of Kentville:
EKCHB, a grant policy is required, which clearly establishes what public money will be used for. A long-term plan, which defines community needs, based on my responses to the questions above, must be drafted in consultation with citizen committees. The use of public funds must always benefit the community as a whole. It takes a community to be a community, and we need to work together to take care of all of our community.


10. From the Eastern Kings Community Health Board: How will you help identify priorities for your council to work on? 

ANNA ALLEN, Candidate for Mayor of Windsor:
As I said before our ICSP does set priorities for the Town. I always believe that the newly elected councils need to get together to share their ideas on priorities, brain storm, and share their campaign experience.We need to be on the same page to be a more effect council. Campaigning is great to get the feel of its citizens on what their priorities are now.

RICK ACKLAND, Candidate for Mayor of Kings County:
I am not presently sufficiently knowledgeable, nor do I have the requisite expertise to answer these questions in the way they deserve. I am not an elected official and do not have access to the information or parties whom I would need to speak to and learn from. If I am elected I shall seek to act with wisdom and that may just be by understanding that I am very likely not necessarily the smartest person in the room but we will be ok if I can find them!

PETER MUTTART, Candidate for Mayor of Kings County:
Priorities should be distilled from what we already know (or think we know) and what we can learn from the public participation process. Prioritizing must remain dynamic. Sometimes the second priority becomes the first for valid reasons. However, we must begin each year with a working list and, so far as our budgets will allow, see that we meet our obligations to our citizens. We have so many needs: public spaces, sidewalks, recreation, promotion of arts and culture, protection of the environment, public participation initiatives, cultural inclusion – the list can be very, very long, without even considering the hard realities of underground infrastructure and the like. Citizens must insist on having a voice; Council must hear what it is that is foremost on your mind.

DAVE CORKUM, Candidate for Mayor of Kentville:
As mentioned my personal commitment to be in the community everyday helps to identify community priorities.  In addition each new Council and their four year term requires strategic planning and stakeholder feedback.  Continued work with KDCL and their Strategic Plan, Releasing the Feasibility Study for a new Wellness Centre and Sports Complex and Review of the Municipal Planning Strategy are a few examples of priority identification and community input opportunities.   To continue to use the existing Advisory Committees and Commissions of the Town will also be prioritized.

SANDRA SNOW, Candidate for Mayor of Kentville:
EKCHB, the number one priority is getting our house in order. Good policy solves problems without creating more issues or violating the laws. It must be ethical. It must encourage citizen engagement, be totally transparent and accountable. We need to start with good decision making for the greater good: What is known; What is unknown; and What are the policy/rules/laws that govern the issue. We need to engage the citizens to help identify the cracks in our community. We need to consult with the experts to fix those cracks. The priorities should roll out of good governance and engagement.