The Grapevine’s 2020 Municipal Election Questionnaire

The following are responses from a selection of candidates running in municipal elections around the Valley. While we made every effort to contact as many candidates as we could, we were only able to include responses from those we had received by press time. For more questions and candidate responses, visit grapevinepublishing.ca

The Grapevine: The Valley’s unique and vibrant arts community has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. What concrete steps will you take to support the recovery and growth of the arts economy in your municipality?

Don Clarke, Mayoral Candidate (incumbent), Town of Berwick: The current Council supports public art including our unique rock carvings. We have a very active museum in town run by a group of energetic volunteers. They have recently created a new display room centred around the works of longtime local artist, Sally Horsnell. This museum has also provided interpretive panels created by very talented summer staff over the last couple of years to be placed in town. The town through the Community Development and other Departments support the Apple Capitol Museum Society.

Peter Muttart, Mayoral Candidate (incumbent), County of Kings: Kings has invested heavily in the arts community over the last four years. It has a rather enviable record in that regard, given that its only source of income is from the property taxes paid by its residents. The Council chooses to interpret the wishes of our citizens as wanting more than just police, fire, and sewer and water services. Vibrant, liveable communities must support the arts as part of our cultural assets. To do better is in part monetary and in part as an enabler of the type of environment that encourages and values this sector. We will, I trust, look for every opportunity to do that.

Wendy Donovan, Mayoral Candidate, Town of Wolfville: I would: ensure Wolfville’s Strategic Partnership Program provides realistic support to the arts; Strengthen community access to Acadia facilities that support the arts; engage local artists in the Town’s leisure programs; most importantly, position the arts as an economic driver, where Wolfville provides artists with the spaces required to work and live and the other supports needed to grow the arts as an integral part of our economy.

Carl Oldham, Mayoral Candidate, Town of Wolfville: Many small businesses have found new and creative ways to sell online and there are opportunities to support local artists to go “virtual.” I would collaborate with WBDC to look at ways to help support the arts sector through education and resources to set up websites and ways to connect through the online world. Music is a big part of our town and many other communities are finding ways to hold safe concerts by limiting the numbers of attendees. This is something that could be done in our Atlantic Theater Festival and the Al Whittle Theatre and other venues. The Farmer’s Market provides an outlet for some of our local artisans to promote and sell their arts. Once we are no longer able to hold this event outdoors we will explore options to ensure that some indoor safe market can take place. This is also true for Christmas craft markets.

Mercedes Brian, Candidate for council (incumbent), Town of Wolfville: I will support Wolfville’s grant partnerships with volunteer-based arts festivals like Deep Roots as well as the waterfront concert series. This year, virtual events will be supported with less reliance on attendance for a successful repeat of the funding in future years.

Mike Butler, Candidate for council, Town of Wolfville: This is an easy one as I have been up to my eyeballs in the arts community for the last 12 years performing in, producing, directing and marketing shows. I sit on the board for CentreStage in Kentville and do lots of work in Wolfville so I’ve been in tune with how things are reopening and being managed. I have booked the Al Whittle theatre for an upcoming smaller show already, and have been looking into 2021 to plan more events to get theatre back in our lives. I look forward to doing as much as I can, if elected, to help the resurgence of the arts in Wolfville. We will get there. The show must go on!

Wendy Elliott, Candidate for council (incumbent), Town of Wolfville:
Wolfville has long been a strong supporter of arts. Fortunately the popular summer concert series, for example, was able to continue with the help of Deep Roots despite the pandemic. The town backs the Acadia Cinema Co-op annually and contributed to Uncommon Common Art. I look forward personally to being able to participate in community theatre, such as the Fezziwig Family Frolic and Women of Wolfville.

Mike Trinacty, Candidate for council (incumbent), Town of Berwick: There are a few steps that I intend to take and these were in the works prior to COVID but are ever more important now. I chaired a project a few years ago to partner with the local arts community, the Berwick Museum, the Berwick and District Community Association to create an art and historical component at the Kings Mutual Century Centre. We had intended to create a historical mural, have an artist create some themed art work and establish a spot for local artists to feature their work. Grant applications were not successful at that time. It is time to try again. Also Berwick Town Council has recognized we need to create more public art. I will ensure these initiatives stay on the agenda.

Nicholas Tan, Candidate for council, Town of Wolfville: Artists will find a way. I attended a private jam-sesh bubble last Sunday. This was held to replace the long missed public open mics that are not currently safe to hold. Hopefully, this pandemic will be over soon. Until, then we must continue to practice and share our talents online and in outdoor spaces.

Jim Winsor, Candidate for council (incumbent), County of Kings: Arts are a huge part of our culture reminding us of our rich history and speaking to the persona of who we are. I have strongly supported the Ross Creek Center for the Performing Arts, Devour! The Food Film Fest, and grants allocated to smaller much-valued initiatives. I will continue to push for support, being mindful that in the COVID 19 world, the arts need our support more than ever.

Cathy Maxwell, Candidate, Town of Kentville (incumbent): I realize the arts community has been hit hard during the pandemic. I have always supported the arts projects brought forward in Kentville. I will continue this support in the second term, if elected. I am hoping the arts community will persist in approaching Council for support, so we can lend a hand. I have advocated for Uncommon Common Art and both Gallery Projects in Kentville. I am also encouraged by the Kentville Business Community art projects such as the various murals around town.

Emily Lutz, Candidate for council (incumbent), County of Kings: I think we should engage with the artists who are struggling and identify what will work best for supporting them in their medium. They are adapting like everyone else, so creating an overarching strategy, backed with individualized financial support via a grant program would allow them the ability to be flexible in their creativity moving forward.

Jodi MacKay, Candidate for council (incumbent), Town of Wolfville: Like all entrepreneurs, no matter their craft, many have found innovative ways to promote or perform using social media platforms, and I commend them for their resiliency. From a municipality’s perspective, we can continue to support festivals like Deep Roots and Devour! – two of Wolfville’s signature events. The Town has also continued their Concert in the Park Series. This was a decision of council, that I supported, to keep funding in place – even when making cuts due to the pandemic- as it was important to support the arts community and to create a place where community can gather safely.

Suzanne Stewart, Candidate for council, Town of Wolfville: In order to revive our arts economy, the Town of Wolfville should consult with local artists, community-based arts organizations, such as Deep Roots Music Cooperative and Mayworks Annapolis Valley Festival, as well as the Wolfville Business Development Corporation to determine a strategy that will benefit the entire community.

Simon Greenough, Candidate for Council, Town of Wolfville: I’m extremely proud of the resilience shown by the arts communities in the Valley during these past few months. Performance artists in particular have transitioned online, as well as into smaller venues. One particular trend I’ve seen elsewhere in the Maritimes is backyard shows and concerts. As a councillor, I would like to support artists who don’t have access to their own sound and recording equipment by making such supplies available for public use. I’d also like to work with local artists to promote and sell their work, potentially using an online shop or gallery to aggregate the work of local artists.

Mayor of Kentville Sandra Snow (Acclaimed to Second Term) The Town of Kentville has committed to public art. We provide support to the business community for murals through the economic development stream. The Tides Gallery is located in the Calkin Building owned by the Town of Kentville. New initiatives include Paint Night under the Gazebo in Centre Square. The Town is poised to support local art initiatives.

The Grapevine: What is your opinion of the current public consultation process in your municipality? Would you change it if elected? Why?

Don Clarke, Mayoral Candidate (incumbent), Town of Berwick: Public consultation is required by legislation in land-use planning and in some other areas. We make every effort to recruit members of the public to sit on advisory committees and have invited the public out to information meetings on various topics. Depending on the topic, attendance varies from reasonable to very little attendance. If elected I will continue to push for these public meetings and work to find ways to encourage better participation.

Peter Muttart, Mayoral candidate (incumbent), County of Kings:
Two-way communication is essential to good government. I am always open to discuss improvements that make the process more meaningful. During my last term, I initiated a series of Mayor’s public meetings designed to cover each of the 9 Districts. The District Councillor and all residents of the district are invited to attend. Citizens receive updates on the initiatives and finances of Council and are invited to contribute input, ask questions and discuss the local concerns in their District/community. Those that have been able and chose to attend have reported, unanimously, on the value of such meetings. While the information is structured and understandable, the gatherings themselves are informal and inclusive.

Wendy Donovan, Mayoral Candidate, Town of Wolfville: We must update the Town’s outdated Communication Plan, improve the website and adopt social media strategies to better listen and communicate, particularly with under-represented populations. Listening and leadership fosters community engagement, reduces conflict and creates better outcomes.

Carl Oldham, Mayoral Candidate, Town of Wolfville: There is always a way to improve any process. For public consultation we need to find better ways to get input in general and now in COVID 19 times, through the online community. The Town could redevelop their website for better input as well as improved communication out to the public. I also think that more “Think Tanks” like the one done on Re-imagining Wolfville are needed.

Mercedes Brian, Candidate for council (incumbent), Wolfville: I prefer consultation methods that do their very best to encourage all to participate. Town Halls don’t always work this way. It’s difficult to share a differing opinion to a large group of friends and neighbours! Small groups, table-top work, and one-on-one consultation gather the complexities. I also want everyone to understand that I listen. Every opinion is important and contributes to the way I vote.

Mike Butler, Candidate for council, Town of Wolfville: For me it boils down to this: the public elects the council to make decisions that best suit the needs of the public. There needs to be consultation and communication between both parties. However, when only a small percentage actually vote that council in, and most are not exercising their rights to vote, there’s a breakdown in that relationship. Consultation is important and so is voting. If there’s a larger portion of the community involved in the election I feel it’ll be easier to communicate and consult on some of the decision making for them. So get out and VOTE! It’s 2020 and there’s a multitude of sources to communicate, I’ll do my best to use as many of these to consult with the public, if elected.

Wendy Elliott, Candidate for council (incumbent), Town of Wolfville: Oh my the Covid 19 pandemic has not made public engagement easy. I believe the recently approved Municipal Planning Strategy was developed with strong public input via social media, calls for input and public meetings. There are two opportunities at every council meeting for questions. Regretfully news media no longer cover local council sessions, so there are fewer avenues for the public to become aware of issues.

Mike Trinacty, Candidate for council, Town of Berwick: I have a very strong commitment to the public consultation process. The Town has led and participated in many public consultation processes over the years some as required by planning regulations and some to seek public opinion. We do strive to encourage citizen participation on Town committees and through our social media networks. We do need to constantly remind council and staff that we must work with the community not only for the community.

Nicholas Tan, Candidate for council, Town of Wolfville: The current public consultation process must be improved. Personally, my phone is always available to take calls, for questions, concerns, or just to chat. I spend a lot of time downtown and in the community talking to people. I will always update people on council actions.

Jim Winsor, Candidate for council (incumbent), County of Kings: We have come from two to six out of ten but “six” is not good enough. We need the voice of our people to guide policy development and investments in programs and infrastructure. We “hear” but the “listening” is not always reflected in what we do. We must create a “culture of listening” so that engagement becomes natural and meaningful and accordingly, more people become willing to engage.

Cathy Maxwell, Candidate, Town of Kentville (incumbent): I presume that Municipal Public Consultation is governed by the Municipal Governance Act. In other words, the process is set. That being said we can go to the public for input in several ways such as a public information session/s, surveys, hearings etc. I believe public consultation is necessary for projects that will have a big impact on the citizens of the town, or an area of town, and would recommend such in those instances. I also recognize that we are elected to make decisions without going to the public for every issue, however those special projects that would have a far-reaching impact should have a public consultation process.

Emily Lutz, Candidate for council (incumbent), County of Kings: I think Kings has good intentions regarding engagement, but haven’t fully realized a mature consultation strategy. We consider it in every staff report brought to Council, but we need to refresh the way we do things. COVID has opened up new possibilities with technology and we should be capitalizing on increased internet access and tech literacy.

Jodi MacKay, Candidate for council (incumbent), Town of Wolfville: Wolfville has an incredibly engaged community. This was evident over the last 4 years at the Council table, and during our sessions in creating a new Municipal Planning Strategy. While recreating the MPS, it was abundantly clear that citizens wanted input into what our Town looked like, as they should. Since I thrive on process, I wanted to ensure we had checklists in place, and clear processes for citizens to follow so they would know how, when and where they could engage. I believe these documents are at a good place, however we must be willing to adapt if we find that in practice they don’t perform. In addition to this, Town Council meetings have public input periods, and accepts all types of correspondence for its Council packages.
Wolfville also encourages community members to be on all the committees of council. This ensures there is a balanced voice at the table and direct input into the decision-making processes.

Suzanne Stewart, Candidate for council, Town of Wolfville: I am not aware of any issues regarding Wolfville’s public consultation process and am interested in listening to concerns and proposing ideas in order to ensure a transparent and fair procedure.

Simon Greenough, Candidate for Council, Town of Wolfville: The public consultation process for Wolfville is quite robust (the consultation surrounding the Municipal Planning Strategy is a great example), but we can always do better. With students making up such a significant proportion of Wolfville’s population, one particular adjustment I would like to see is to better consult with the students of Acadia. If elected, I would address this by pushing to establish student representation on all Town committees.

Mayor of Kentville Sandra Snow (Acclaimed to Second Term) Public consultation is very important to the process and the Council has provided many opportunities for citizens to provide feedback. It is one of those initiatives that can always be better, and both the council and the citizens must make an effort to ensure it is effective.

The Grapevine: Although sometimes perceived as the responsibility of other levels of government, childcare is a sector that municipalities already participate in (for example through afterschool programs and day camps). What steps will you take, if elected, to improve childcare availability and affordability in your municipality?

Don Clarke, Mayoral Candidate (incumbent), Town of Berwick: We have made great strides over the last number of years to increase and improve Day Camp (summer) and after school program‘s. Our Town Hall was designed to accommodate these youth programs by including a small gymnasium, a multipurpose room and the library. We also designed our Rainforth Park building “Carol’s Place “ to house programs like day camp. This building is situated close to new tennis courts, a splash pad, playground and abundance of open space. Sadly COVID-19 has severely limited the use of these facilities this year.

Peter Muttart, Mayoral candidate (incumbent), County of Kings: Education and child-care programs are the responsibility of the province. Indeed, the theory upon which our respective tax systems are based is that the province pays for ‘people services’ and the municipalities pay for ‘property services.’ Nevertheless, we are constantly scanning for gaps and filling them where we can afford to do so. We lobby, contribute and cajole our senior governments in this area. We will continue to do that; and we will financially contribute to kick-start senior government participation.

Wendy Donovan, Mayoral Candidate, Town of Wolfville: As a municipal recreation professional involved with programs such as High Five© and Everybody Gets to Play©, I know the Town’s programs contribute to the health and development of young children. We can increase affordable access for children through the Town’s Mudley Fund and partnerships with service clubs and churches offering affordable childcare.

Carl Oldham, Mayoral Candidate, Town of Wolfville: I want to make sure that the current afterschool programs and camps continue and are expanded to give opportunity to more children. Finding resources so that more “tiered income dependent” or subsidies to low income families for programs would be something I would explore.

Mercedes Brian, Candidate for council (incumbent), Wolfville: I will use my voice as a town councillor to advocate at all levels of government for subsidized universal daycare. It would have transformed my working life with children, and is an overall gain in revenue for governments.

Mike Butler, Candidate for council, Town of Wolfville: This is a general answer as I am very new to this area and how it works at this level but I feel it is SO important ! I am a major spokesperson for childcare and programs within the community, doing the best for kids, and promoting child literacy and social events. Kids are the future and I am only a super Uncle (not a parent) but I am eager to learn what is currently available and improve on those areas, if elected, and maybe getting involved with my theatre, history or english studies backgrounds and incorporate that knowledge somehow. If elected, and once I know how things operate, I feel this is an area I want to dive into.

Wendy Elliott, Candidate for council (incumbent), Town of Wolfville: Improving childcare will take systemic change. Over the years Acadia University staff and students have called for a market survey on daycare, but that has never occurred. We don’t know how big the needs are, but costs are high and the pandemic has complicated everything. According to Laurie St. Amour of the non-profit Wolfville Children’s Centre, there are no registered infant care spaces in town. Wolfville Rec does offer an after school program. But there was no consideration of childcare when the school was renovated. I wish Nova Scotia could invest in a publicly funded childcare system. Montreal parents pay $175 a month, while in Halifax the average last year was $967.

Mike Trinacty, Candidate for council (incumbent), Town of Berwick: As with your examples the Town of Berwick offers both after school and day camp programs. Council has specifically recognized the need to offer after school programs during the pandemic. I have always believed the Town must do its part to provide opportunities for youth in the after school time period which is a critical time for working families.

Nicholas Tan, Candidate for council, Town of Wolfville: My brother Jacob is a young parent. I’m happy to hear him say the federal government provides great assistance for childcare. On a municipal level, it would be great to implement more focused programs based around creativity and adventure.

Jim Winsor, Candidate for council (incumbent), County of Kings: Council made a huge step forward in creating a food support program for schools. Perhaps there are partnership opportunities available in the area of daycare services. I will continue to advocate that non-profit daycare facilities receive a tax exemption status under bylaw 99 (Tax Emption for Non-Profit Organizations By-Law). We must not see ourselves helpless but find opportunity to make changes and lobby senior government to respond to the needs.

Cathy Maxwell, Candidate, Town of Kentville (incumbent): I believe our role as a municipality is to support childcare through our recreation department, and their camp and after school programs. We have a fund called the Spike Fund that will assist families in Kentville who want to put their child in a recreation program, but can’t afford it. This fund will look after making sure the child can take part. The fund is supported through Community donations. I have personally supported this fund, and as a Councilor will continue to endorse our recreation programming aimed at childcare for working parents, and physical activity through play for our young people.

Emily Lutz, Candidate for council (incumbent), County of Kings: I would love to see the municipality partner with NSCC Kingstec Early Childhood Development program to find solutions to this shortage, whether it’s through subsidies, creative zoning to encourage non-traditional childcare facilities, investment in our recreation staff/department, supporting our towns in the programs they offer, etc.

Jodi MacKay, Candidate for council (incumbent), Town of Wolfville: Interestingly, this is one of the reasons I ran 4 years ago. I felt I was not living in a space where a young family’s interests were being considered in the budgeting process. I decided I wanted to see this change, so I ran for council to add a different perspective to the conversation. Over the past 4 years I have advocated for recreation for children. The Town now has a partnership with Acadia for summer programming, after school programming is available, and there is a partnership with Rotary to deliver Environmental Camps. There are also programs specifically for girls to encourage a healthy lifestyle. I will continue to advocate for this as having families in our Town is essential for growth, diversity and community harmony.

Suzanne Stewart, Candidate for council, Town of Wolfville: Childcare is necessary for families to have equal access to opportunities. I envision that Wolfville’s town council would initiate dialogue between all three levels of government to develop and implement a national-based universal child care system to provide accessible, affordable and licensed early childhood education and care to all families. Investing in our youngest citizens will holistically benefit our community.

Simon Greenough, Candidate for Council, Town of Wolfville: One solution I would like to explore is the idea of working together with the Faculty of Professional Studies at Acadia to develop childcare programs. This would allow our future teachers the opportunity to gain valuable experience working with children, as well as give some parents the opportunity to return to work, if they aren’t in a position to be able to work from home. 

Mayor of Kentville Sandra Snow (Acclaimed to Second Term) The Town of Kentville has a very progressive Land Use Bylaw and Municipal Planning Strategy which enables citizens to operate child care businesses under the provincial guidelines from their homes. Additionally as a member of the Valley Regional Entreprise Network (VREN) we are pleased to have contributed to and provide a guide for both those searching for childcare and considering starting a childcare business in the Annapolis Valley. http://www.valleyren.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Finding-Child-Care-in-the-Annapolis-Valley-August-2020.pdf

The Grapevine: What initiatives has your municipality undertaken to mitigate the effects of climate change? What strategies to combat climate change will you support if elected?

Don Clarke, Mayoral Candidate (incumbent), Town of Berwick: The town of Berwick has been a leader in the mitigation of the effects of climate change. In 2017 the town was awarded a Climate Change Leaders Award. The Berwick Electric Utility providers its customers with over 60% of their power from renewable sources. We have also joined the ranks of towns and others around the world to declare a climate emergency and Berwick was featured on the CBC national news late last year for these and other projects. If elected I will continue to support more renewable energy through the establishment of a solar garden concept that will provide the town with energy from photo voltaic panels and provide our residents with an opportunity to invest in solar without huge upfront costs. This program will be available to all residents even if their property is not suitable for solar or if they rent their home.

Peter Muttart, Mayoral candidate (incumbent), County of Kings: A significant motivation for me to re-offer for one more term is to complete the following projects that significant time and money have already been invested in pursuing, all climate-related: establishing a municipally-owned wind-farm, completion of a solar farm project, installation of solar panels (and back-up storage) on lift stations and community halls, the support of citizens with loans to enable them to reduce the carbon foot-print of their home through renovation and/or installation of solar panels, the release of an updated climate change plan, establishing electric vehicle charging stations, and greening the fleet: enabling transition to electric public works vehicles. We hope to assist Kings Transit with transition its buses as well.

Wendy Donovan, Mayoral Candidate, Town of Wolfville: I support the mitigation initiatives of Wolfville’s Climate Change & Energy Coordinator. Additionally, I support a tree bylaw; community garden plots on municipal and, with incentives, privately owned vacant lots; incentives for eco-friendly lawns and gardens; and safe active transportation lanes.

Carl Oldham, Mayoral Candidate, Town of Wolfville: The Town of Wolfville has a Climate Change Mitigation Coordinator (Omar Bhimji) who is currently working on a plan for the next budget for the new council.
He has explored ways to conserve energy in people’ homes through insulation, windows, doors and solar programs. Some very good work has been done that needs to continue with the funding for this term position extended. This may be an opportunity to cost share and collaborate with other municipalities in the region for this important role and work to continue. Wolfville has applied for funding through two different grants for “climate change” and “active transportation” initiatives.

Mercedes Brian, Candidate for council (incumbent), Wolfville: As chair of the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee I led or supported our climate emergency declaration, hiring a climate change mitigation coordinator, weekly climate circles, solar panels on our public works building, and a new bylaw that will help property owners reduce their carbon footprint while town-financing the improvements.

Mike Butler, Candidate for council, Town of Wolfville: I work in the Wine, Beer, and Coffee industries as well as try my best to stay in touch with the changing world in other fields. I see how companies are trying to reduce waste, stay on top of shopping local and create new ways to help the environment (solar panels, water reduction,more walking / biking) but 2020 was a rough one with all these new policies and procedures to follow. I am looking forward to learning more about better energy sources and how to implement them in the community if possible. This is a new area that I’m very interested in!

Wendy Elliott, Candidate for council (incumbent), Town of Wolfville: Climate change has already presented a very important challenge. The Waterfront Park needed to be reinforced recently. Coastal erosion could seriously impact downtown Wolfville in the future. A grant for solar panels at the public works building and an electric charging station in cooperation with Acadia are initiatives to build on. The town currently benefits from the expertise of a climate mitigation specialist, but we must plan carefully for a future that is bound to look very different. Educating oneself wisely in order to make good collective decisions is critical for any council member.

Mike Trinacty, Candidate for council, Town of Berwick: The Town of Berwick has been and needs to continue to be a leader in municipal climate change efforts. The Town is in the unique position of owning their own Electric Utility, it is one of a few in the province. The Town has partnered with 2 other municipalities to create the Ellershouse Wind Farm. Berwick Electric provides many energy saving initiatives to its customers and is participating in a federal pilot project focusing on creating and storing solar power in 10 residences and 3 institutional settings. Other climate change plans include developing a community solar garden and installing electric vehicle charging stations throughout the Town. As a commission member of Berwick Electric I will continue to support these and other initiatives that support climate change.

Nicholas Tan, Candidate for council, Town of Wolfville: Wolfville has an Environmental Sustainability Committee, which is currently upgrading our wastewater treatment plant to be more efficient. It’s great to see our town improving sustainability. We can definitely improve household waste and energy efficiency. We all must do our part, the climate crisis is a global problem, and the fight of our time.

Jim Winsor, Candidate for council (incumbent), County of Kings: Global warming is a reality and we must do our part to help improve the quality of life for us and future generations. We have started a wind energy project, a solar energy project (both as potential revenue streams), collection of solar energy on facilities, and more. I will advocate for every green energy project that makes sense. It’s more than just good environmental sense; it’s good economic sense too.

Cathy Maxwell, Candidate, Town of Kentville (incumbent): I am very supportive of climate change initiatives. In Kentville we have an anti-idling bylaw, ordered electric vehicle charging stations, made sure our buildings use energy saving light bulbs and we are looking at switching our vehicle fleet to energy saving vehicles. We have teamed with Tree Canada and Home Hardware to plant many new trees in our parks, and any upgrades that are done to our infrastructure is done with climate change initiatives in mind. I will continue to promote reducing carbon footprints and carbon emissions in Kentville by suggesting and supporting green energy proposals. I would like to see a solar project in town if elected and have suggested solar panels on the pool house roof, and Town Hall has also been suggested.

Emily Lutz, Candidate for council (incumbent), County of Kings: Kings has made great strides toward greening the County, including the creation of a Climate Action Plan, exploring a PACE program for residential solar panels, investing in solar panels for community buildings, trying to attract large wind projects through our MPS/LUB, consulting with local solar installers, and more!

Jodi MacKay, Candidate for council (incumbent), Town of Wolfville: Wolfville under the current council has declared a climate emergency. One step taken was hiring a Climate Change Mitigation Coordinator on a two-year term. I would advocate for this position being funded again, as having a professional on staff to aid council was imperative to making real change. The Town staff with direction from Council have recently made these changes, to name a few: Solar energy at the Public Works building, an E-charging station with Acadia, active transportation improvements, upgrades to water and sewer plant, and flood risk mitigation. I will continue to learn, support and grow in regards to this topic and look forward to all the new initiatives that will come over the coming years.

Suzanne Stewart, Candidate for council, Town of Wolfville: I believe that the Wolfville community has implemented many environmental-conscious initiatives, e.g. LED street lights; however, there is always room for improvement. It would be beneficial to continue to work with Acadia University and the broader valley communities to develop even more opportunities for a cleaner and healthier environment, such as self-sufficient, sustainable clean energy.

Simon Greenough, Candidate for Council, Town of Wolfville: I applaud the Town of Wolfville for declaring a climate emergency last spring, as well as for the actions they’ve taken since (installing an EV charging station at Acadia, and hiring a climate change mitigation coordinator). Climate change is an existential crisis, and if elected I will look for every possible opportunity to mitigate the effects of climate disruption that we’re already feeling today. Some of those opportunities might include ideas like energy retrofits for our municipal buildings, as well as working with the County of Kings, as well as the communities of Berwick and Kentville, to electrify our transit system. The hardest part about addressing the climate crisis is the apathy surrounding the issue – the sense that we’re too small to make a difference. But if we don’t try to lead on this issue, why should we expect other communities to make that same effort? I’d like to make Wolfville the template that other communities can look to emulate when it comes to climate change mitigation. 

Mayor of Kentville Sandra Snow (Acclaimed to Second Term) Kentville committed to climate change as part of its daily business many years ago. All of our facilities have been upgraded for lighting and heating to ensure the most economical and climate friendly means. We continue to work on storm drain systems to adapt to “bigger” storms and the work carried out on the riverbank has paid dividends in reducing flooding and loss due to flooding. The Active Transportation (AT) study carried out last year, shows ways that we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by linking neighbourhoods. Climate change and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions is part of every decision taken by council. There is still more to do and we have committed to being environmental champions through our strategic plan.