Geoff Chaulk, one of the candidates hoping to be elected as the mayor of St. John's, says he believes the city should consider the idea of a toll system for commuters in surrounding areas.

Chaulk said many people come into the city for work, shopping or education and they need to pay their share.

"What is it that we need to get them to contribute to the costs of our infrastructure," said Chaulk.  "So I know it will be contentious and it will not win me any votes in the outlying areas, but I do think it's something we need to think about."

Chaulk admitted that he is not sure how it might work but he has asked the Newfoundland and Labrador government whether any legislation would prevent such an idea.

Better city planning needed, says candidate

Chaulk also said the city council needs to get a better handle on planning, and ask hotel and office tower developers to give back by building parks, daycare spaces or affordable apartments.

"Those companies, those big corporations, want to come here, they need to come here, because there's so much growth happening," said Chaulk.

"But I think corporately, they have to show us what their conscience is, what their responsibility is, and give back directly to the city."

New to politics

Chaulk, a former public and health policy analyst and the former executive director with the Newfoundland and Labrador branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association, is one of three people who have said they are vying to become the city's mayor in the next municipal election. 

Current St. John's mayor Dennis O'Keefe said last year he will seek re-election, and Coun. Sheilagh O'Leary announced her plans to run for mayor last week.

Although Chaulk has had little previous political experience, he said he has been attending St. John's city council meetings regularly to get a handle on the issues and how the current council deals with them.

St. John's voters will go to the polls on Sept. 24.