Hantsport council to consider by-election to replace councillor

Ashley Thompson
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The term for Shannon Cunningham, now a resident of Halifax, ends Aug. 4.

Shannon Cunningham, a Hantsport town councillor, will officially be done his post Aug. 4 after serving six years.

Shannon Cunningham’s time as a town councillor in Hantsport is coming to a close.

Now a resident of the Halifax area, Cunningham is no longer eligible to serve on Hantsport’s council according to the Municipal Elections Act.

Hantsport Mayor Robbie Zwicker sent a letter to the provincial Department of Municipal Relations May 8 asking for Coun. Cunningham’s term to be extended until March 31, 2015.

By then, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (UARB) would have made a decision about the Town of Hantsport’s application for dissolution. If the application is approved in early January, it has been proposed that the process be completed by April 1, 2015.

Town council would cease to exist if Hantsport becomes a part of a neighbouring municipality.

In a letter dated July 3, Municipal Relations Minister Mark Furey said the department understands the Town of Hantsport’s request for Cunningham’s extension came “out of a desire to avoid the requirement for a special election to put a new councillor in place for the eight-month period from August 2014 to March 2015.”

Furey said the department understands the Town of Hantsport’s concerns about the costs of holding such an election and the importance of “maintaining continuity on council at such a critical time.”

However, Furey continued, Municipal Affairs is unable to approve the extension without amendments to the Municipal Elections Act.

Cunningham’s council career in Hantsport is scheduled to end Aug. 4.

The Metro Transit employee says he will miss serving his hometown as a senior officer with the Hantsport Fire Department and member of council.

“I joined council with a long list of items I wanted to see through, and soon learned I was much better off picking one or two items at a time rather than overwhelming council and having most of those items pushed aside and sometimes forgotten about,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham, a former Fundy Gypsum employee, said he is proud to know he was able to help engaged citizens of Hantsport enact positive change within the community during his six years on council.

 “I think I will miss the feeling of accomplishment most,” he said.

Whether near or far, Cunningham will always think of Hantsport as an incredible place to be.

“Even though I may not physically live in Hantsport anymore, it will always be home to me.”

Council is scheduled to meet Aug. 5 at 6 p.m. to discuss how the Town of Hantsport will deal with Cunningham’s departure.

 

Organizations: Hantsport council, Department of Municipal Relations, Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board UARB Town council Metro Transit Hantsport Fire Department

Geographic location: Hantsport, Halifax, Hants County West Hants Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Briley Abbott
    August 05, 2014 - 14:31

    Absolutely! The "reasons" given for not wanting a bi-election were laughable at best. It just demonstrates disrespect for the citizens of Hantsport. If only we would just see the light and go away, like good little ...

  • jeff s
    August 04, 2014 - 15:11

    Bingo Steve, there will only be a by election if the mayor and certain members of council feel they can get the right person voted in. Most people in town know who the mayor wants in, only problem is, the people don't want this person in because as soon as he opens his mouth all credibility is lost.

  • Steve Watson
    August 01, 2014 - 17:20

    The ToH's desire to keep Mr. Cunningham wasn't about concerns over cost of an election, it was over the desire to keep a "yes " vote for dissolution on council while the vote is 4-3. A by-election for his seat will be a by-election for the future of the town.