All in the family
Glooscap First Nation re-elects chief, joined by brothers on council
Sidney Carl Peters has been re- elected as the chief of the Glooscap First Nation.
He joins two fellow incumbents and one new councillor on the band council.
Peters was elected as chief with 174 votes, defeating Michael Andrew Halliday, who received 12 votes. In total, there were 182 votes cast.
Incumbents Jean Louise Labradore Powers and Leonard David (Larry) Peters were re- elected and will be joined by Lynwood James ( Woody) Peters on the council.
The chief said he was happy with the results and is hopeful that Glooscap will continue to grow under the new administration.
“I felt that I had a good opportunity to get out and talk to a lot of my community members,” Peters said. “Whether it was the local area of Hantsport and Glooscap, the Annapolis Valley, New Brunswick, I talked to a lot of people in the U.S., Ontario.”
Members of the Glooscap First Nation can vote in the band council election by mail, no matter where they live.
“I got good vibes. We did what we set out to do and I think the majority of the community members were pleased with that,” he said.
Peters said the turnout, around 60 per cent, was decent considering many of the electors were scattered across Canada and the United States.
“It can be difficult to get ( voter engagement) sometimes when they don’t see directly what’s happening in the community,” he said.
The next steps for the new council, which convenes in April, is discussing the feedback they received from the community during the campaign.
“We continue to provide communication information to the people, but there’s always opportunities to improve,” he said. “I know regarding health care, we have to work to improve that and work with getting our youth more involved in the community.”
The new council inherits a growing and quickly changing Glooscap, which has seen a dramatic increase in population. According to census figures, Glooscap grew from 59 people in 2011 to 81 in 2016.
A major development, known as Glooscap Landing, is also under construction off of Highway 101, which could provide hundreds of jobs for the region.
“Glooscap Landing was a great opportunity back in 2013, when we identified as a council that our businesses should have to be run by businesses and that political people have to step back and allow the business sector to really analyze some of the opportunities we have,” Peters said.
“When we had the opportunity to buy that land, we knew we’d run into some concerns and issues, but now we’re probably 14 months behind because of zoning bylaw issues with the municipality. We’ve been working on that.”
Peters said a lot of the groundwork has been finished, including the roundabout, water, sewer and platform for the gas bar.
“We’re ready to go but we’re just waiting for our building permit,” he said. “We’re a small community and a progressive community, but we know we can’t do it alone, we need partners to work with us.”
Two of Peters’ brothers, Leonard David Peters and Lynwood James Peters, will also sit on the council – meaning three of the four members including the chief will be blood related.
Peters said it’s not unusual for family members to be on council together.
“There are communities with large families, so sometimes you do get family members on council,” he said, adding that it will be a priority to look at conflicts of interest and have policies in place to address that.
“Probably down the road we will run into some issues and complaints, but we also have to ensure that we have good policies in place,” he said. “We always make sure we go through our legal system to make sure we don’t run into any issues in regards to conflict or confidentiality issues.”