When you compare their platforms and rhetoric, the two candidates competing in the Bedford byelection appear to have a lot in common.
Tim Outhit and Matthew Christie are both campaigning on the promise of change, to make progress on infrastructure, facilities and transit they say has evaded Bedford since amalgamation.
And they both think there’s a good chance they’ll emerge victorious when the polls close tomorrow night.
“People are getting frustrated,” said Christie. “Constantly, over the last 10 years, they haven’t seen anything move forward.”
But instead of making Bedford its own town again, Christie, who is on leave from his job as executive assistant to Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister Jamie Muir, proposes a compromise.
Establishing village status would give Bedford control over some of its tax revenue, which he says would move long-awaited projects forward.
Christie, who is the son of retired politician Peter Christie, says “name recognition” sets him apart.
“A lot of people don’t really know who Tim Outhit is, so that’s certainly an advantage,” he said.
But Outhit says he’s getting a lot of support from young families, young professionals and residents active in community associations.
“People really like the fact that I have this 25 years of experience and education in business, law and strategic planning. These are the skills you need in the 21st century to be a councillor,” says Outhit, who runs the NovaKnowledge think-tank.
To give Bedford more control to repair aging infrastructure and construct much-needed facilities, Outhit suggests more groups like the Ridgevale Homeowners Association, which he has headed since 2001, to give Bedford control of some of its tax revenue.
“They’re very effective in terms of lobbying for change,” he said.
Outhit says he is in favour of tax reform, but not of spending endless hours debating the cat bylaw, as regional council has often been criticized for doing.
“I want to focus on social and economic development,” he said.
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