Two Hantsport residents have announced their intentions to run in the upcoming byelection.
Jeff Starratt, who grew up in Hantsport and returned to his hometown after finishing university to raise his family, is the latest to enter the race.
Starratt declared his desire to fill a vacancy on Hantsport’s town council Aug. 8, three days after the byelection was called.
Starratt, a teacher at Avon View High School in Windsor, has been following dissolution discussions closely through attending public consultation sessions and public meetings.
“I believe that I can be a strong voice for the citizens throughout the process,” he said.
There are several residents of Hantsport who have yet to add their voices to ongoing discussions about dissolution, Starratt said. If elected, his priority would be to reach out to those citizens to gain a better understanding of how the majority of taxpayers feel about town council’s decision to apply to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board for the dissolution of Hantsport’s township.
“I’m willing to get out and seek out these people,” he said.
If selected to sit on council, Starratt said he is ready to do his research and fight for what he feels is best for Hantsport and the surrounding areas.
“I keep an open mind,” he said. “If elected, my decisions would be based on numbers and facts, not emotions or bias.”
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The byelection will fill a council position that was held by Shannon Cunningham. Cunningham served on council for six years, but relocated to the Halifax area earlier this year. His term on council ended Aug. 4.
Phil Zamora, a member of the Think Hantsport citizen group opposing dissolution, was the first to announce his intention to throw his hat in the ring for the byelection.
Zamora, a retired Department of Fisheries and Oceans employee and longtime Hantsport resident, believes it is crucial the Haven of Hospitality continue to be governed by a council populated with its own residents.
“If the town dissolves into a municipality, this authority will be given to a group of people who have much larger and different priorities than those of Hantsport citizens,” said Zamora in an interview announcing his candidacy.
It has yet to be determined how many representatives Hantsport would have on the council serving the receiving municipality if dissolution occurs by the proposed date of April 1, 2015.
Residents wanting their names on the ballots for the upcoming byelection must register by Sept. 9.
Oct. 9 and Oct. 14 have been identified as potential dates for advance polls, followed by an ordinary polling day on Oct. 18.