MAHONE BAY - Two candidates are vying for to fill a vacant town council seat here in the upcoming byelection.
Former Lunenburg MLA and provincial cabinet minister Suzanne Lohnes-Croft and retired bank executive Bryan Palfreyman both hope to win after citizens cast ballots on Nov. 26.
Lohnes-Croft, who won two provincial elections and served in the Liberal government cabinet, said she'll bring a different perspective and some political experience and knowledge to council, if she's successful in her bid for the seat.
"I'm (potentially) going in on a council already established and has a strategic plan," she said in an interview, adding she'd be interested in learning more about how the mandate is being carried out.
The former early childhood educator was defeated in the 2021 provincial election and returned to private life. She enjoyed spending time with family and re-established herself on local volunteer boards and committees. However, the intensity of, and thirst for, public affairs is a motivator.
"I just feel like something is missing and I think this is it," she said of seeking office again.
Lohnes-Croft, should she win, commits to finishing the term, which runs to October 2024 but isn't promising a run beyond that.
Meanwhile, Palfreyman said he'd contribute his private sector experiences and participate in the future development of the town, should he be elected. He couldn't immediately be reached for a phone interview as he was travelling in the United Kingdom, a trip to visit family he planned long ago, but he provided comments in an email.
"Mahone Bay is a town moving forward on a number of fronts but facing many challenges," he said.
"For example there will shortly be a revision to the land use bylaw; this will need careful handling to provide for future housing needs while protecting what so many love about our charming town. Parking is a problem and we all now know that we must expect more severe weather events that require active and updated forward planning."
Palfreyman's lived in the Mahone Bay area for about 20 years and recently moved into town. He's involved with town land-use and heritage advisory committees. He's a former vice-chairperson of the Mahone Bay Centre and currently holds the same role with the Mahone Islands Conservation Association.
"Career-wise, I worked at senior levels in a major Canadian bank," Palfreyman said. "This involved many negotiations with the federal government on regulatory and legislative issues."
The council seat became available after first-term civic politician Alice Burdick resigned in August.
Burdick was sidelined from council earlier this year due to health reasons and took a temporary leave of absence. In a previous interview with LighthouseNOW, Burdick said her health influenced her decision to quit elected office.
In a written report to council, town officials estimate the byelection will cost taxpayers' $17,500.