Despite lack of races, some vote for change in Antigonish County

ANTIGONISH COUNTY: In the only contested races for seats on the council of the Municipality of the County of Antigonish, two of the three incumbents were defeated.

In district 2, Donnie MacDonald was the only incumbent councillor to be re-elected after receiving 377 votes in comparison to Kristel Fleuren-Hunter’s 223.

With 276 votes, Shawn Brophy was victorious over incumbent Vaughan Chisholm who came up just short with 268 votes in district 4.

In District 9, Harris McNamara walked away with the election after securing 67 per cent of the vote – 442 votes – over incumbent Neil Corbett’s 170 and Carol MacEachern’s 44.

“I’m really humbled by the amount of support that I received from the residents of district 9,” McNamara told The Reporter. “I hope I get all the things we talked about in our campaign done in the next four years, or at least started.”

He said his emphasis was on attracting and retaining young families to district 9 and he thinks council should regularly report on its activities and get input from constituents.

“That is the key getting those young families and young couples involved,” McNamara said. “Certainly, the other thing important to me; I believe we should report out more often, and not just before an election.”

Another issue McNamara brought attention to is the mobility of seniors in his district.

“Sometimes it can be difficult for our seniors to get to medical appointments,” he said. “Hopefully we can do something with regards to getting services like foot-clinics and flu-shots in the community, not necessarily having to drive into Antigonish.”

McNamara, who is a grandfather and retired in 2017 after working for over 40-years between EMERA and the Point Tupper Heavy Water Plant, said he has a son who’s built a home in Havre Boucher, and he saw the need to get these young families involved.

Something he heard on the campaign trail from young families is their need for two salaries and the possibility of working towards establishing non-profit childcare in the community.

“People have moved away from the community because they can’t child care unless they have family that can look after their children,” McNamara said. “This is something that’s very near and dear to my heart.”

He now takes over the reins and represents the district of the late former warden, Russell Boucher.

“Nobody will replace Russell, as far as I’m concerned,” McNamara said. “He did a lot for the community; I hope I can do just as good of a job.”

Bringing a 33-year work life dealing with numerous levels of government from across North America, and as a member of the Nova Scotia Labour Board, he said he has the experience and the support of people with like-minded agendas.

“I like people, I’m a social person, and hopefully we can bring the community together to work on these projects,” McNamara said. “Especially getting young people involved – that’s the key.”

The seven remaining councillors were acclaimed; Mary MacLellan (district 1), Hughie Stewart (district 3), Remi Deveau (district 5), current warden, Owen McCarron (district 6), John Dunbar (district 7), Gary Mattie (district 8) and Bill MacFarlane (district 10).