Three men and two women are officially in the running for the vacant seat on Sackville Town Council, giving municipal voters a wide range of choices on election day, Monday December 10.
Three of the five candidates responded to my request yesterday for a photo, a brief bio and a statement outlining why they are running for the seat held by Megan Mitton, who resigned from council after being elected to the New Brunswick legislature last month as a Green Party candidate.
Former councillor Shawn Mesheau was the first to file his nomination papers with Elections New Brunswick.
Mesheau, who has already served three terms on council (1998-2001; 2001-2004; and 2012-2016) says he was considering running again in 2020 when this vacancy came up after the provincial election.
“With only 16 months until the next municipal election, it makes sense that my experience would allow for a smooth entrance to join the existing councillors and forge ahead,” his e-mail says.
He adds that while the town has done well in community development, “we are on life support when it comes to economic development.”
Mesheau, who has extensive business experience, says eight economic sectors need to be nurtured including business, retail, tourism, agriculture, the environment, culture and the arts, and the university.
“We are doing well at four of those and need to dig deeper when it comes to business development, retail, tourism and agriculture,” he concludes.
A news release issued on his behalf says Mesheau works for Blugenics Innovations in Sackville, where he is Key Account Manager for large national retailers.
To read Mesheau’s complete statement as well as the news release, click here.
A committed environmentalist with a PhD in biology and a Master’s degree in environmental studies will also be on the ballot in the Sackville by-election.
Sabine Dietz, who managed Megan Mitton’s successful provincial campaign, says in an e-mail that her extensive experience working with communities of different sizes across the province has made her aware of basic issues.
“I understand the immense challenges municipalities are facing such as flooding, helping our seniors, working with our youth, or protecting the environment,” she adds.
“I like the direction our Town has been heading, looking at and supporting innovative approaches to some of our challenges, despite some hiccups along the way. There is so much more we can do for us to grow and make us more sustainable, and I would like to be a part of it,” her statement says.
Dietz, who ran unsuccessfully for the Sackville mayoralty in 2012, has worked as a program and project coordinator on environmental projects since the mid 1980s. In 2013, she co-founded the Aster Group, a co-operative environmental consulting firm.
To read her full statement and brief biography, click here.
A former president of the Mount Allison Student Union is in the running for the vacant seat on town council.
Dylan Wooley-Berry also served as a student representative on the Mt. A. Board of Regents, the university’s highest-governing body.
In 2016, he was a prominent leader in the successful campaign against budget cuts that could have killed the Mount Allison Women’s and Gender Studies program.
In his e-mail to Warktimes, Wooley-Berry writes that after graduating from Mt. A., he moved to Ottawa where he worked for more than a year in the office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard before deciding to move back home to Sackville.
“One of the things I would like to see our town change is how it bills residents for water usage,” he says, adding that residents should pay for every litre they use, to encourage them to conserve water.
“The current minimum payment scheme is not environmentally friendly as it creates economic incentives to consume more water,” he says.
“Sackville is a great town, this is just one example of something that needs to be fixed.”
To read Dylan Wooley-Berry’s brief biography and statement, click here.
Brian Neilson and Julia Feltham
Two candidates, who ran unsuccessfully for council seats in 2016, did not respond to my request for a photo, a brief bio and a statement about why they were running.
Both Brian Neilson and Julia Feltham are heavily involved in Sackville community activities.
Neilson is a member of Sackville Schools 2020, the group lobbying for replacement of Sackville’s crumbling schools as well as adoption of new collaborative and experiential learning methods.