Kerry Simpson’s questions for Councillors and Their Responses, July 11, 2016

Kerry Simpson’s questions for Councillors Mitton, Butcher and Black, July 11, 2016

Councillor Mitton, I am going to quote from an article that appeared in the Sackville Tribune Post on-line edition April 27th when you announced you were seeking a seat on town council:

Mitton said she’s optimistic about the direction the town is headed but believes much more can be done, particularly around sustainability.

“And when I talk about sustainability, I don’t just mean the environment. I’m talking about what we can do around business development, with our schools, and how the public can get involved, “she said. “We can take a proactive approach in what we want to create in our community.”

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, especially in a place like Sackville.”

Councillor Butcher, I am going to quote from an article that appeared in the Sackville Tribune Post on-line edition April 26th when you announced you were running for a seat on town council:

The town also needs to have vibrant businesses and employers but Butcher believes the best way to do that is to “make it a place for people to want to be with their kids and their families.”

“It needs to be a place where businesses want to come,” she said. “And I think we’re on that road. We certainly have a lot to offer.”

Councillor Black, I am going to quote from an article that appeared in the Sackville Tribune Post on-line edition May 3rd when you announced you were adding your name to the ballot box for Sackville town council seat:

Black has been working in retail for the past eight years in Sackville, six of those running his own business. During that time, he said he became acutely aware of the challenges of being a business owner in Sackville with its small population, seasonal student body and summer tourist consumers.  He said it was a difficult road trying to make the business viable and even more frustrating seeing other businesses close for various reasons.

“It is my hope that the upcoming council will be able to make great strides in not only promoting Sackville as a business start-up destination but also working to keep our existing economic structure in place.”

You will note a common theme of economic growth and sustainability of our existing businesses.

At the July 4th meeting during the vote on adding drive thru’s to the highway commercial area which would have allowed Tantramar Gas Bar to add a Robin’s Drive-thru and help to diversify their business, you voted NO to the bylaw amendment, this would seem against economic development. Could you please explain why you voted no?

Councillors’ answers to Kerry Simpson’s questions

Councillor Mitton: “Hi. Thank you for your question. To explain why I did vote no, while there were arguments on both sides, the idea of reducing emissions which is part of the Partners for Climate Protection Program that Sackville’s a part of, part of the community plan, the focus is to reduce emissions and to reduce idling, concern over air quality, anything that I guess promotes more use of vehicles that burn gas could be seen as going against that and with the daycare right there that was a concern that was raised by the public. I also think that looking at Sustainable Sackville Plan which is a plan that the town has signed onto and is working on, there’s a need for thinking long-term about what types of policies and bylaws and everything that will promote lower emissions, everything including businesses and economic development and if we look at sustainability, I did mention it includes the environment, includes business and it also includes society and the people involved and when, when we look at an issue, we have to look at it from all three perspectives and I did my best to balance those and decided to vote no. I do support obviously economic development, business development. In this specific case, I decided that we shouldn’t, or I voted not to amend the bylaw. However, I’m very open to ideas around business development and thank you for your question.”

Councillor Butcher: “Last week, the amendment that was being asked to vote upon was not just for the Robin’s drive-thru. It was to lift the entire ban off of all the commercial districts, which would mean it would also lift the ban off of our already terribly congested exit 504 where the high school is, where there’s so many students walking, there’s traffic congestion and there’s land for sale up there and I couldn’t support lifting the bylaw off of that section as well. If it were more site specific, I would be voting for us having that lifted, but it wasn’t. It covered all commercial areas and I don’t think we want to open up 504 to more drive-thrus to open there.”

Councillor Black: “My answer’s pretty much the same as Councillor Butcher. I voted no because it was a blanket, the amendment would cover all commercial highway space which I, I just ethically I could not agree with. Part of it is just, again what Councillor Mitton said, is thinking of the future of Sackville and it’s not to say that there’d be 15 drive-thrus suddenly pouring into Sackville, but thinking about the future and likelihood of that highway commercial space, I couldn’t do it. If it was site specific, again like Councillor Butcher said, I would be more inclined to say yes because I do see a potential for that end of Sackville and that highway exit.”