MEET THE CAN­DI­DATES

A by­elec­tion will be held on Dec. 10 (ad­vance polls Dec. 1) to fill a seat on Sackville Town Coun­cil. The seat was va­cated by Coun. Me­gan Mit­ton when she stepped down af­ter be­ing elected the re­gion’s new MLA. To­day, we take a closer look at four of the

Sackville Tribune - - COMMUNITY - BY KATIE TOWER SACKVILLE TRI­BUNE- POST

Ju­lia Feltham Ju­lia Feltham is a mother, an en­tre­pre­neur, a fa­cil­i­ta­tor, a singing cel­list and a tour­ing mu­si­cian.

She soon hopes to add Sackville town coun­cil­lor to her list.

Feltham is one of five can­di­dates vy­ing for a seat on town coun­cil in the up­com­ing mu­nic­i­pal by­elec­tion, a de­ci­sion she said she made be­cause of her passion for her com­mu­nity and her en­thu­si­as­tic de­sire to see Sackville reach its full po­ten­tial.

“I think Sackville could be the cen­tre for ru­ral in­no­va­tion for all of At­lantic Canada,” said Feltham.

A pro­fes­sional com­mu­nity de­vel­oper, Feltham says Sackville has so much to of­fer, with one of the most walk­a­ble down­towns in At­lantic Canada and with its lo­ca­tion as the “cul­tural cross­roads” of the Mar­itimes. And she wants to help bring more new ideas and in­no­va­tion to the ta­ble.

Feltham says her skills and ex­pe­ri­ence as a so­cial en­tre­pre­neur has helped her de­velop new ap­proaches, us­ing mar­ket and busi­ness tools, to solve en­vi­ron­men­tal, so­cial and eco­nomic prob­lems.

“I would love for Sackville to be known as a place that is home to the so­lu­tion econ­omy,” she said, “where we look at all our prob­lems as our best op­por­tu­ni­ties.

For ex­am­ple, she points to the un­tapped po­ten­tial in our re­gion for wind and tidal en­ergy, as well as eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties around a cli­mate change adap­ta­tion sec­tor.

“All of the jobs for green en­ergy and retrofitting need trades­peo­ple … there’s no rea­son this can’t be the best place for young pro­fes­sion­als to live in Canada.”

Feltham said an­other rea­son she is run­ning for the coun­cil seat, which was va­cated by coun­cil­lor Me­gan Mit­ton when she stepped down af­ter be­ing elected the re­gion’s new MLA, is be­cause she loves pub­lic en­gage­ment and wants to make sure the mu­nic­i­pal­ity and its cit­i­zens have health­ier con­ver­sa­tions.

She said the level of pub­lic dis­course, par­tic­u­larly in an era of so­cial me­dia and hy­per-par­ti­san­ship, could be im­proved – with more team-build­ing, dis­cussing solutions with each other, and us­ing the com­mu­nity’s own re­sources.

“We live in a com­mu­nity where we can ac­tu­ally host con­ver­sa­tions where we com­plete solutions rather than just fight each other about how you’re mak­ing the prob­lems worse,” said Feltham. “My big­gest hope is we re­frame our prob­lems to be the amaz­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties they could be … as long as we use the out­stand­ing tal­ent we have in this town and let them know we’re work­ing on shared solutions to pub­lic prob­lems.”

She said she’s ex­cited about the high cal­iber of can­di­dates who are run­ning in the by­elec­tion and feels they could all bring dif­fer­ent tal­ents and skillsets to the ta­ble.

“I feel like most of the peo­ple who are can­di­dates ac­tu­ally feel they can make a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence and have very par­tic­u­lar ideas; and I think that is beau­ti­ful and re­ally en­riches the con­ver­sa­tion.”

Co-founder of the Sackville Com­mons, the town’s first cowork­ing space, Feltham said be­ing on coun­cil would be an­other great way for her to be an am­bas­sador for this town she has come to love so much. But even if she is not elected on Dec. 10, she said she just re­ally wants peo­ple to know she is still al­ways on board to talk about the fu­ture of Sackville. Brian Neil­son He’s a ded­i­cated vol­un­teer and a strong ad­vo­cate for ed­u­ca­tion re­form in the com­mu­nity. Now, Brian Neil­son is putting his name for­ward for a seat on Sackville town coun­cil.

Neil­son, who orig­i­nally came to Sackville as a Mount Al­li­son Univer­sity stu­dent more than two decades ago and is now mar­ried with two school-aged chil­dren, has been com­mit­ted to the town in var­i­ous ca­pac­i­ties over the years and now wants to bring some of that passion and en­gage­ment to the mu­nic­i­pal realm.

Through his vol­un­tary work, Neil­son said he has seen a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties and po­ten­tial for de­vel­op­ing suc­cess­ful ven­tures and he’d like to be a part of de­vel­op­ing a big­ger-pic­ture vi­sion for the town.

“I want to get in­volved in more of the long-term plan­ning,” he said.

Call­ing him­self “more of a giver than a taker,” Neil­son is a fam­ily man who says he sim­ply wants to give back to the com­mu­nity he has come to call home over the past 20-plus years. Serv­ing as the cook/ man­ager at the Univer­sity Club of Sackville for about 15 years, Neil­son is presently a mem­ber of the Salem Ele­men­tary Par­ent School Sup­port Com­mit­tee, Sackville Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion, the Crake Foun­da­tion, N.B. Fed­er­a­tion of Home & School As­so­ci­a­tions, and Sackville Schools 2020. He is also the pres­i­dent of the Tantra­mar Fam­ily Re­source Cen­tre and the pres­i­dent of the Salem Home and School As­so­ci­a­tion. This fall, Neil­son has also been the com­mu­nity cook­ing in­struc­tor for Marshview Mid­dle School’s “En­gage” pro­gram. He has pre­vi­ously served on the Dorch­ester Pen­i­ten­tiary Ci­ti­zen’s Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee and dur­ing his stu­dent years was a vol­un­teer at the Sackville Food Bank.

Neil­son said he be­lieves he could rep­re­sent sev­eral dif­fer­ent de­mo­graph­ics on coun­cil – in­clud­ing as a for­mer univer­sity stu­dent, a par­ent, a vol­un­teer – and serve as an am­bas­sador for the town, pro­mot­ing it as a great place to raise a fam­ily. He knows there is a de­sire by a num­ber of Mount Al­li­son stu­dents to ei­ther stay af­ter grad­u­a­tion or to one day re­turn, and he wants to en­sure Sackville is do­ing all it can to re­tain those stu­dents.

He would also like to see more con­sid­er­a­tion be­ing given to make Sackville a more walk­a­ble and “greener” town, and said the ap­proach be­ing taken with the pro­posed plan at the Trans-canada high­way Exit 506 is a good first step.

“We need to try and make that a des­ti­na­tion rather than just a pass through,” said Neil­son.

Neil­son ran un­suc­cess­fully for a coun­cil seat in the 2016 mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion but said that didn’t de­ter him from throw­ing his hat in the ring again, this time in a by­elec­tion.

“While be­ing un­suc­cess­ful last time, I didn’t lose in­ter­est in the town, the ad­min­is­tra­tion and its fu­ture.”

Neil­son be­lieves he has a good un­der­stand­ing of how coun­cil works and feels the shorter term will pro­vide new can­di­dates with a good in­tro­duc­tion to mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics.

Dy lan Woo­ley-berry

Dy­lan Woo­leyBerry wants to step for­ward and con­trib­ute to his com­mu­nity.

That’s what has prompted the 24-year-old to throw his hat in the ring for a seat on Sackville town coun­cil in the up­com­ing by­elec­tion.

Woo­ley-berry re­cently re­turned to his home­town af­ter work­ing with the fed­eral govern­ment in Ot­tawa for more than a year and feels he could bring a much-needed youth­ful pres­ence to town coun­cil.

He said he rec­og­nizes a ma­jor­ity of young New Brunswick­ers are reg­u­larly head­ing out of the prov­ince for other op­por­tu­ni­ties; but for those who do choose to stay or re­turn to their home com­mu­ni­ties, the door needs to be open for them to be­come in­volved in the civic process.

“I think if we want to make Sackville a more invit­ing place for the peo­ple who grew up here who choose to stay and for peo­ple who choose to come back, we’re go­ing to have to elect young peo­ple and have young peo­ple mak­ing some of the de­ci­sions.”

Woo­ley-berry, born and raised in Sackville, has been an ac­tive and en­gaged par­tic­i­pant in the com­mu­nity most of his life. In his younger years, he played mi­nor hockey, swam for the Sackville Swim Club, served on the stu­dent coun­cil at Tantra­mar, and vol­un­teered with a few lo­cal or­ga­niza- tions.

Fol­low­ing high school, Woo­leyBerry at­tended Mount Al­li­son Univer­sity where, dur­ing his sec­ond year, he was elected stu­dent union pres­i­dent. He said he learned a lot serv­ing in that role, at­tributes he could bring to the coun­cil ta­ble.

“I think my ex­pe­ri­ence taught me how to work well with peo­ple within our own com­mu­nity, taught me the value of col­lab­o­rat­ing and listening to ev­ery­one be­fore de­cid­ing how to move for­ward.”

Af­ter earn­ing a bach­e­lor of arts de­gree in po­lit­i­cal sci­ence, Woo­leyBerry moved to Ot­tawa for an in­tern­ship in the of­fice of the Min­is­ter of Fish­eries, Oceans and the Cana­dian Coast Guard and was of­fered a full-time po­si­tion at the end of the in­tern­ship. Af­ter work­ing for more than a year in the min­is­ter’s of­fice, he de­cided to move back to Sackville.

“I just love it here,” said Woo­leyBerry, adding he also hopes to pur­sue fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion and earn his teach­ing de­gree in New Brunswick.

He talks about how much he en­joyed his time at Mount Al­li­son, ac­knowl­edg­ing the sup­port­ive and tight-knit com­mu­nity he ben­e­fited from that helped him grow and thrive as an in­di­vid­ual.

“Now I’d like to have the op­por­tu­nity to give back to the com­mu­nity and I saw run­ning for town coun­cil as a pos­i­tive way to do that.”

He said if elected, he would like to be a part of de­vel­op­ing a pos­i­tive and for­ward-look­ing vi­sion for the town.

“I think when we make de­ci­sions, we have to think about not just how that de­ci­sion is go­ing to af­fect us in the next year or four years, but look to what we want to make Sackville in the next decade or two decades, and start plan­ning and lay­ing the ground­work for that.”

For ex­am­ple, New Brunswick will be fac­ing de­mo­graphic chal­lenges in the near fu­ture, he stated, and Sackville will need to be ready.

“We have to take that into ac­count and put for­ward pub­lic pol­icy that’s go­ing to make Sackville re­silient to those changes.”

He also pro­poses to bring free pub­lic wifi to the down­town core, a move that he says has been a long time com­ing. The town has the tech­no­log­i­cal ca­pa­bil­ity to do so and it should cap­i­tal­ize on that, he said.

“I think it’s an in­no­va­tive way of sup­port­ing lo­cal busi­ness and draw­ing peo­ple into the heart of Sackville.” Sabine Di­etz Sabine Di­etz is hop­ing she has a chance to bring her ex­pe­ri­ence and in­ter­est in lo­cal gov­er­nance to the ta­ble as she vies for a seat on Sackville town coun­cil in the up­com­ing mu­nic­i­pal by­elec­tion.

“I think I can con­trib­ute quite a bit with my knowl­edge and my back­ground,” said Di­etz.

Di­etz, an en­vi­ron­men­tal con­sul­tant, has ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with com­mu­ni­ties of dif­fer­ent sizes all across the prov­ince and has a solid un­der­stand­ing of many of the is­sues mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties face.

“I know where some of the chal­lenges are that need to be met.”

With a PHD in bi­ol­ogy and a master’s in en­vi­ron­men­tal stud­ies, Di­etz has been work­ing as a pro­gram and project fa­cil­i­ta­tor and co­or­di­na­tor since the mid-1980s. She said this has in­volved bring­ing var­i­ous stake­hold­ers to­gether and serv­ing in a ca­pac­ity build­ing role, en­sur­ing en­gage­ment and com­mu­ni­ca­tion were key through­out the process.

Di­etz moved to the Sackville area about 13 years ago af­ter tak­ing a po­si­tion as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Cape Jouri­main Na­ture Cen­tre, where she worked un­til 2010. Since that time, she has worked as cli­mate change adap­ta­tion spe­cial­ist for the pro­vin­cial govern­ment, the re­gional ser­vices com­mis­sion and numer­ous mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties on var­i­ous projects.

In 2013, she co-founded the Aster Group, a worker co-op­er­a­tive that de­liv­ers en­vi­ron­men­tal con­sult­ing ser­vices.

Di­etz said her in­volve­ment be­hind the scenes as a vol­un­teer on var­i­ous com­mit­tees and or­ga­ni­za­tions in the re­gion have also pro­vided her with a good knowl­edge of the dy­nam­ics of lo­cal govern­ment. She has pre­vi­ously served on the boards of EOS Eco En­ergy, Beause­jour Re­new­able En­ergy, Tantra­mar Tourism As­so­ci­a­tion, Co-op En­ter­prise Coun­cil of New Brunswick, and Na­ture NB.

Di­etz said she is ex­cited about the po­ten­tial of work­ing with the cur­rent town coun­cil.

“I like that bal­ance that is on coun­cil right now and I’d like to main­tain that,” she said.

Di­etz, who ran un­suc­cess­fully for mayor in the 2012 elec­tion, said her de­ci­sion to put her name for­ward last time around was mo­ti­vated by her dis­ap­point­ment over a lack of ac­tion by the coun­cil at the time on a num­ber of is­sues. This time, how­ever, that’s not the case.

“Things are hap­pen­ing now. There are a lot of good things go­ing on and I’d like to be a part of that, to con­trib­ute and help where I can.”

She said she loves Sackville and hopes to be able to play a role in cre­at­ing even more op­por­tu­ni­ties for the cre­ative and in­no­va­tive thinkers that are mak­ing the town such a spe­cial place.

Di­etz said she is con­cerned about the tim­ing of the by­elec­tion and hopes win­ter con­di­tions won’t dis­cour­age res­i­dents from get­ting out to vote.

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