SHERBROOKE – After carefully considering the number of new challenges and opportunities currently facing St. Mary’s, longtime Warden Michael Mosher says he will reoffer as councillor for district two in the upcoming municipal election.
Mosher, who has held the position of warden since 2014 and served as councillor for the Ecum Secum area since 2004, told The Journal he had been weighing the decision for several weeks before making up his mind a few days ago.
“I’m going to give the community and the residents a chance to say whether I’ve been doing a good job,” he said. “We have several projects in the works that are very important to council, to myself and to the municipality, and I’d like to continue to partake in those projects. I want to see them through.”
Chief among these, he noted, is the proposed Atlantic Gold mine at Cochrane Hill, northeast of Sherbrooke, which has both promised economic benefits and stirred controversy over its potential environmental impact on the St. Mary’s River watershed since it appeared on the municipal radar in 2018. The project is currently undergoing federal government review.
“That’s a very contentious issue, and I’ve been involved with it since the start,” Mosher said. “It’s important we determine where we are going with this as a community.”
As well, he emphasized the renewed effort, after years of relative inactivity, to establish a formal planning strategy and land use bylaw for the district. “I was the chair of the planning committee 16 years ago,” he said. “That was the first committee I ever chaired. So, now that we are back working on that, I’d love to be involved.”
Similarly, he added: “The whole Streetscapes Plan in Sherbrooke is really important. That’s a wonderful project that council and staff have been working on for a long time. I’d love to see that one move along.
“So, right now there’s also an awful lot going on in the district. At this point, I’m not sure how many councillors will be reoffering, but this is a chance (for me) to provide some continuity. Of course, there’s no guarantee that I’m going to be back. We’ll let the community decide. This is a democracy, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Mosher has until September 8 to file his nomination papers. “The campaign will be challenging in a COVID world,” he said. “I have definitely thought about that. It makes everything tougher on everyone. But I think it (the electoral process) will be fair. I just hope the COVID issue doesn’t have an effect on the outcome. I just hope people will want to get involved right now.”
According to St. Mary’s Chief Administrative Officer Marvin MacDonald, turnout in municipal elections across Nova Scotia is typically low, compared with federal and provincial ballots, although, he said, “it’s actually pretty good in St. Mary’s.”