Municipal election 2021 – Meet the mayoral candidates for Grand Manan

GRAND MANAN – Two candidates.

Bonnie H. Morse

Why are you running for mayor?

I have spent most of my life on Grand Manan and love this community. I believe there is so much potential for the village with a local government that works together. I want to take advantage of opportunities for the island. I have worked in the fishing industry for the past 28 years, many of which have been advocating positions for the Grand Manan fishermen. This also involved on the ground work to come to agreements that were acceptable to the group as a whole. The skills I have developed throughout my career will transfer well to the position of mayor. Grand Manan is a special place with great people that I look forward to serving for the next four years.

What is the first issue you’d like to tackle if elected?

The current council has identified resurfacing of the runway at the airport as a priority and seeing that through to completion would continue to be a primary issue. The airport is a vital link for medivacs from the island and needs to be maintained.

Being a community that relies on the ocean, it is important that we restore a pool on the island, either through a rehab of the existing pool or through a new facility. Operation of the pool has required funding from the village in the past and will in the future at levels that are sustainable for the community. It is important not only from a recreational but also from an economic perspective.

What new policy/program would you like to put in place?

Under the Local Governance Act, council is required to develop bylaws to establish a code of conduct. I believe this is especially important not only for in person interactions but also those that take place on social media. Clear guidance on what is acceptable and what is not is important for council and for the public.

The animal by-law was tabled by this council and needs to be revisited. I believe that there is a middle ground that can be attained with effort on both sides that respects both animal owners and adjacent property owners.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing your municipality?

There are challenges facing our municipality from both a social and infrastructure perspective. Like many municipalities, a lack of affordable housing is a challenge. There are no easy, one-size-fits-all answers, but I think there are opportunities to learn from initiatives in other communities and try to develop solutions. Equally important is addiction and mental health. It is important that there are programs that are available locally so that islanders do not have to travel for the services they need.

Our main road (Route 776) is overdue for resurfacing and needs to be widened to accommodate foot and bicycle traffic. The Grand Manan V (our secondary ferry) is over 30 years old and council needs to continue to work with the province and Coastal Transport for a long term solution. Both of these infrastructure needs are critical to our island’s economy.

Dennis Greene (incumbent) did not respond.