MULGRAVE – Most people in Mulgrave know Lorne MacDonald; he’s lived in the community for 50 years, been a councillor for half of that time and served as mayor from 2012 to 2016. And he’s looking to fill that mayoral seat again after an unsuccessful run for the position in the 2016 municipal election.
MacDonald, who works as the facility manager at the Strait Area Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College, clearly has a penchant for municipal politics. He told The Journal that aside from his own interest in local politics, he decided to run for mayor at this time because people had approached him “asking if I was interested in running for mayor. I told them I was thinking about it and the more people that came to me, the more interested I became. There are some things I would like to see happen in the town to improve conditions here.”
The Town of Mulgrave has been besieged by setbacks in recent years, but MacDonald is ready to work to bring new business to the community. The first thing, he told The Journal, that he would look into getting for the town would be a Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) agency store—a business that would house both a convenience store and NSLC products. Currently Mulgrave has an NSLC store but no location where residents can buy the basics such as milk and bread. “For us to get something in Mulgrave, a convenience store, you have to have the agency store to go along with it to make it viable,” he said.
When asked what the biggest challenges were for Mulgrave, MacDonald said, “The tax base. A lot of people came to me and said they can’t afford to keep paying taxes for what we’ve got in town. The thing is to increase the tax base.” One way to do that, he added, would be to rezone unused industrial land near the waterfront to residential to entice new people to relocate to the community. He’s also in favour of creating a business incubator in the Mulgrave Memorial Centre for start-ups.
Despite the challenges that the Town of Mulgrave faces, MacDonald noted that there are also assets that haven’t yet reached their full potential, an example being the Strait of Canso Superport Corporation. “To me, we can make money by getting businesses in here to use our port; that’s not being used to its capacity.”
Another ongoing issue is the state of the road that runs through the Town of Mulgrave. When amalgamation with the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) was on the drawing board, and later scuttled, the province refused to take on the responsibility of paving Main Street, Mulgrave—a distance of 6.2 km. There are currently plans to replace the bridge on that section of the road next year and MacDonald would like “to see them revisit that…to see if they would take 3.5 km over from the bridge out to Morrisons Lake.”
Speaking to his record during his last term as mayor, MacDonald said he successfully oversaw the building of the new pumping station on Loggie Street and secured a garbage collection agreement with the MODG. He obtained funding for a new sewer force main and worked to retain the ATM in town (there is no other banking facility). He also secured easements for the power lines to the new water treatment plant, added a new 1000-foot water main on Main Street and new signage throughout the town.
His strength in the position of mayor, MacDonald said, is that he knows how to get things done and he will always work to help everyone in the town; treating each person equally.
There are two mayoral candidates in the Town of Mulgrave: Ron Chisholm, currently a councillor for the town; and Lorne MacDonald, former mayor and councillor for the town. All other council seats were won by acclamation.
Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal