HALIFAX – Paul Boyd, Tony Mancini, Don Smeltzer, and Matt Spurway are all those running to represent residents of Harbourview-Burnside-Dartmouth East in Saturday’s by-election.
The seat was left vacant when Darren Fisher ran to become the Liberal MP for Dartmouth Cole-Harbour during October’s federal election.
Affordability for food, transportation and rent are all issues that need to be addressed in the riding, according to all candidates, who feel the district needs to better heard at the Regional Council table.
Paul Boyd is also concerned the identity of the area is being lost with HRM’s re-branding.
“It’s almost overwhelming, almost every single door I knock on, they’re saying ‘we are not Halifax, we are Dartmouth,'” Boyd said.
“A lot of focus is on the downtown and business closing along the Nova Centre, I feel for those businesses but district six needs some attention as well,” Boyd said.
Boyd has run municipally and provincially several times and said he likes his chances in Saturday’s election because he understands the issues currently facing his fellow residents.
Tony Mancini has been an entrepreneur for 28 years and said there’s a lot of untapped potential sitting within his district and encourages others to start their own businesses within the community.
“Say for example, we have a new immigrant family that’s coming in … they open a store or a service …. we need to support them for the first couple of years, because they’ll hire people,” Mancini said.
Seniors’ accessibility to the transit system is also a large issue in his riding, according to Mancini, who said the current system is unreliable and makes it harder for seniors to be mobile and have access to affordable food and services.
Matt Spurway served as a community outreach assistant for MP Robert Chisholm.
He said his experience within the community has given a him a first hand look at the issues in the district, from food insecurity and affordability, to rent controls, affordable transportation and enforcement for landlords that don’t keep up maintenance on their properties.
“These are issues that all level of government have a role to play in and the city can do more, the affordable transit pass I’m fighting for is a good example of that,” Spurway said. He said protection for residents who want to complain about landlords without fear of retribution.
Don Smeltzer is a Municipal Consultant who worked at Dalhousie University for 28 years and served two years on Dartmouth City Council in the mid-90’s.
Smeltzer said affordable living is his top priority for the district if he were elected, which he said needs more attention from council.
“We need to continually stress the importance of affordable housing in our district and look for solutions, not say ‘oh look there’s a mountain there that’s too big for us to deal with,” Smeltzer said.
He said whomever represents the area needs to have their ears to the ground for issues that may not be on his radar, and he is hoping to draw on his experience as a former councillor to help connect with residents.
Advanced polling is closed for the election, with the final chance to vote in-person on Election Day on Saturday.
For more information related to the by-election, like where to vote, residents can visit the city’s election website.