Residents add Chester’s ‘big supporter’ to village commission


  • <p>SUBMITTED PHOTO</p><p>Carol Nauss is the newest member of Chester&#8217;s village commission. She won a recent byelection.</p>

CHESTER - Residents here in recent weeks added "a big supporter" of the village and surrounding community when Carol Nauss handily won a village commission byelection. She replaces Martin Hiltz, who stepped away last fall.

Nauss, involved in municipal planning advisory committees, an honourary Baptist church deacon and a heritage advocate, she took 85 per cent of ballots cast in the byelection. She defeating her opponent Tom Mulrooney by a 68 to 22 margin.

She plans to finish the remaining term, which expires in June, but expects someone else will seek the new three-year mandate when the time comes. Nauss said she had time to fill the post, temporarily.

"I felt I had lot of background in the village and in how the commission operated," Nauss said in an interview. She served on the commission in the past. "For (a few months), a new commissioner is hardly going to wrap their heads around a lot of it; it's a steep learning curve, let's put it that way."

Village commission chairwoman Nancy Hatch is pleased to have Nauss aboard.

"She brings a level head and history," Hatch said in an interview. "She's unbiased; she's a big supporter."

Mulrooney, also a former commissioner and was on the ballot last year when four positions were up for grabs, said he ran again because he has ideas he thinks would benefit the village and wanted to see a contested race.

He didn't, however, have high hopes of winning. "I knew I lost before we voted," Mulrooney said in an interview.

Last summer, in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Bridgewater, Mulrooney applied to have Hiltz's seat declared vacant and the village call a byelection. Mulrooney alleged Hiltz ran for elections while not an "ordinary resident" of the village, contrary to existing municipal rules. Hiltz, who owns property on Little Tancook Island and in Chester, had said back in 2019 - at the start of a previous term - his Old Trunk 3 home in the village was his primary residence.

In a November 2022 court filing, the Village of Chester contested Mulrooney's application, arguing all bylaws, policies and relevant provincial legislation were followed.

"Commissioner Martin Hiltz has chosen to sell his home in Chester and will be moving out of the village," reads the court notice filed by Kentville lawyer Jonathan Cuming, on behalf of Hiltz and the village. "As such, he has tendered his resignation to the commission, which resignation shall be effective Oct. 31, 2022."

In mid-November, Mulrooney, learning Hiltz stepped down, discontinued the legal matter. None of the allegations were tested in court.

Mulrooney didn't think the court action impacted his own chances of getting elected. He indicated his court challenge was on principle. "It wasn't personal," he said.

At the time of the interview, Hatch didn't know how much it cost the village to contest the case.

Terms on the commission are staggered with elections occurring each year. Elections for multiple seats are slated to take place next year and in 2025.

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