MacInnis ready to retire from East Hants municipal politics

Shubenacadie councillor Pam MacInnis said she is not re-offering when residents go to the polls in October for the municipal election. (Healey photo)

SHUBENACADIE: Residents of Shubenacadie will not see a familiar name on the ballot when they vote this October—pending any change in scheduled municipal elections due to COVID19.

Pam MacInnis, who has been saying to fellow community members since January she would not be reoffering, spoke to The Laker News about her decision to not re-offer under the almost-summer like sun inside the gazebo at Rex McCoul Park in Shubenacadie on May 22.

“I have given my best and will continue to do so until the election,” said MacInnis, “However, I’m ready to retire and relax.”

She said that she just doesn’t want the responsibility anymore after serving for eight years. She was elected in 2008; didn’t re-offer in 2012; but did put her name in for the 2016 election.

Among some of her highlights during her time on East Hants council include getting the dock in the river as a result of being on the Shubenacadie Canal Commission as the council rep and meeting Allan Billard of the Canoe to the Sea group.

“Through conversations, Allan and municipal staff were able to fund and place the dock,” said MacInnis.

She said the dock has been used by many wishing to just stand on it, and those who are kayaking and canoeing to launch their boats. Two more docks have been placed in the river.

“The river is such a beautiful, natural asset,” said MacInnis.

She also enjoyed meeting many people, helping residents out and working along side passionate community volunteers during her council tenure.

MacInnis said one of the steepest learning curves when she was first elected to council was to learn not to take things personally.

“That is the hardest part,” she said responding to a question about anything she found tough about being a councillor.

While she may be finished in a few months, MacInnis said there are some projects she hopes to see through in East Hants.

“I want to see the trails and river access and connectivity between communities continue,” she said. “Sidewalk continuation would be a big benefit.

“I’d like to see a new playground and splash pad at our river park. It’s a real need.”

MacInnis also mentioned seniors housing; affordable housing; and environmental policies as items she wants to see continued to be worked on for the municipality.

She was asked how hard it is to balance need for development with infrastructure needs in communities as vast and different from one end of East Hants to the other.

“This is an ongoing challenge we face, just look at Shubenacadie,” she began her response. “We can’t increase residential, not have seniors’ homes or active living developments without a new sewage treatment plant. Without financial grant assistance from other levels of government, this will not happen.”

What does that mean for residents of Shubenacadie?

“In our case, that means folks who outgrow their family homes and want to downsize need to leave their community,” said MacInnis.

MacInnis did have a message for others who may be considering running for a municipal councillor seat. She feels municipal government is one of the most misunderstood levels of government.

“These are your neighbours and friends, and we’re all in the business of improving quality of life,” she said. “However, with 11 councillors and differing views of what that actually means, we rely heavily on our Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS).”

She said East Hants is policy driven. By that, she said, she means a framework is set out and adhered to during decision making, as much as possible.

“The MPS is a dynamic document within a fast-growing municipality,” she said. “We consider updating or changing policies when the discussion unearths an inadequacy in council’s strategy.”

All that leads to why one should get involved.

“Caring about your community and future direction is enough to get involved,” she said. “If you are a councillor, you have a voice at the table. This is the significant aspect.

“Although you will not always vote with the winning side, you will have a say, you will represent your residents, and you will have a vote.”

And that’s something MacInnis did well representing her residents of Shubenacadie during her eight years on council.

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