Mike Savage: I can provide leadership that’s open and transparent. We can be the youthful city that we want to be, and most importantly, we can keep the young people right here in Halifax. We need to find ways to encourage the younger population to stay here, and one way to do that is for the HRM municipal government to hire more young people directly out of university.
DG: What would you do to create a better and efficient transportation system that residents and students alike can truly depend on?
MS: We currently do not have an integrated mobility plan. The bus plan needs to be more practical in order to facilitate the efficient movement of people; we need a connected region-wide transportation plan. 8 per cent of people in Halifax bike, and if we invest in more bike lanes throughout the region, we can reduce the number of cars on the street, something that will benefit the environment and congestion in downtown Halifax.
DG: How do you plan to encourage development in the core of the city and increase the amount of people that would like to live there?
MS: We haven’t spent much money in the last few years. Even cities like Fredericton have spent more than we have, and that doesn’t make any sense! We need to follow the regional plan, HRM by Design, which allows for more density in the downtown core and equally distributes commercial taxes among small and medium sized businesses. Increasing height is also important: the more large buildings we have, in accordance with HRM by design, the more dense the city will become.
DG: What kind of tax reform would you like to see and how will that affect students?
MS: I’d really like to see us in HRM have some guts and take the stuff that we know we have to do and actually do it. We have our downtown core hollowing out, our corporate tax system does not make any sense, and we are losing the businesses that bring vibrancy to our core. We need to look at tax reform across the board, but most importantly make commercial taxes fair for the very businesses that give life to our downtown core.
DG: What is your fondest memory of your time as a Dalhousie student?
MS:I really enjoyed first year history with professor Peter B. Waite, especially the way he lectured and the flowing robes he would wear to class. I was also involved with student politics and marched to the provincial legislature to protest the tuition increase to over $1000 in the late 1970s.