By Chris Lewis/September 9, 2021
The Town of Holyrood has two familiar faces running for the mayor’s chair this year.
Both Kim Ghaney and Gary Goobie are council veterans.
Ghaney, born and raised in Holyrood, has lived most of her life in the community. Currently working as a regional manager of virtual care solutions with Eastern Health, she has spent the last eight years serving as a councillor in Holyrood.
Ghaney said she has learned a lot from councils both past and present, and now it’s time to apply those lessons as mayor.
“Everybody brings something to the table, and I think I’ve learned something from each of them over the years,” she said.
When considering her options this election, Ghaney said, she found a lot of support from the people close to her, who encouraged her to take her role on council to the next level.
“It seems to be the natural next step … and I really do want to contribute meaningfully to the community,” she said.
Goobie, who said he has been busy on the campaign trail, served as mayor until January this year. His departure from the council chambers came as a result of a controversial proposal the Town received that would have seen a microbrewery set up shop on the community’s festival grounds. Goobie was among a minority on council who voted against the application.
“Simply put, my conscience could not allow me to support the development that would have cost the taxpayers a substantial amount of money,” Goobie said.
At the time, he added, the application was moving along without residents being made fully aware of the costs.
“I felt I could not be a part of this,” he said. “I stood on principle, and felt it was best to remove myself from council.”
The application was later withdrawn. Goobie said he is looking forward to seeing the town move past the issue.
Ghaney, meanwhile, said the Town needs to closely examine how it engages with its residents.
“There have been a lot of lessons learned in the last 12 months on how we communicate with the residents: how we respond to communications coming in, and how we communicate our initiatives,” she said, adding that clarity and transparency are at the top of her agenda.
Ghaney said it is important that residents have a solid understanding of what is going on in Holyrood from a council perspective.
“That’s one of my bigger priorities,” she said, adding that she would like to see a ‘community advisory” group formed that would encompass as many people as possible to properly gauge what Holyrood’s taxpayers want.
“It would be diverse in nature, with representation from seniors to youth, from working parents, from people with disabilities, mental health advocates, business owners … just really make sure we’re getting input from people across the board.”
Goobie too said he would like to see residents given an opportunity to make their voices heard, even prior to the Town’s regular council meetings.
Goobie said as mayor, the residents’ priorities would be his priorities, and he would like to extend the opportunity for those priorities to be heard regularly. He suggested council host a 30 minute question-and-answer session with residents at every meeting.
“It’s not a debate, and there’s no decisions made there,” Goobie clarified. “But, if there’s an issue on a resident’s mind about something that’s affecting them, then they will have the opportunity prior to the meeting to meet face-to-face and explain what their situation is. That’s all a part of trying to improve community engagement.”
Also on Goobie’s priority list is the town’s water supply, sewage treatment plant, continuation of water and sewer projects, improvements to byroads and repairs to sections of Route 60 that patchwork cannot properly address.
“On another note, I will be requesting, if elected, an external operational and organizational review to ensure the Town is operating as efficiently and effectively as possible,” Goobie said.
Both mayoral candidates said they have done what they can to get started on the campaign trail so far. Ghaney said there were some mix-ups when it came to printing her materials. She expected to have her signs ready to go by Wednesday or Thursday this week. In the meanwhile, she said she has been having plenty of conversation with residents both over the phone and online and plans to get out knocking on doors once her materials are in hand.
“I want to make sure people know me, know my record, know my integrity and my commitment, and that they know I will stick by the community through thick and thin,” she said. “I want to learn about what people want and what they don’t want. That’s what will be keeping me busy over the next couple of weeks.”
Goobie said his campaign is getting plenty of support from residents so far. He noted he already has signs up on some 130 lawns around the community, most of which he said were requested.
“All my signs are placed on lawns, only on private property. You won’t see any of my signs on public property,” Goobie said. “The response has been an encouragement.”