First candidates enter race to be Moncton mayor
Erik Gingles says he's in, while Chad Peters set to announce bid Tuesday
The race to be Moncton's mayor kicked off this week with the first person announcing they want to lead New Brunswick's largest city.
Erik Gingles confirmed over the weekend that he will run in the May 11 municipal election. Other announcements will take place later this week, including Chad Peters on Tuesday. One-term Mayor Dawn Arnold will announce her decision on whether to reoffer by the end of the week.
Since 2016, Gingles has run a video-news site called Buzzlocal that regularly livestreams Moncton council meetings and produces video segments about community news and events.
"I could see there were a lot of things that, I believe, happening that were becoming major problems that just weren't being addressed," Gingles said. "That people just weren't necessarily being listened to."
Gingles said he'll be running with a platform focusing on three topics: social issues, public safety and the environment.
He said his time covering council has given him a strong understanding of the issues Moncton is facing and how the city operates. While people encouraged him to run to be a councillor, he was also told the mayor's office was where the agenda is set.
Gingles said he's always wanted to be involved in municipal politics, but wanted to wait until after his children were finished school. The youngest of his three children graduates this spring.
Gingles grew up in Moncton, graduated from Harrison Trimble High School and spent nine years teaching English in Japan before returning to the city with his wife.
Tamara Nichol, a former district education council chair, and Luc LeBlanc, a University of Moncton professor and former NDP candidate, are his campaign co-chairs.
Gingles said he will likely still produce stories about the community through Buzzlocal while running for office. He is considering whether to continue to cover city council.
A Facebook page for Chad Peters, listing him as a politician, began running advertisements last week for a "campaign launch" at a downtown hotel set for Tuesday morning. The event page says it is regarding an "important announcement about the upcoming municipal elections."
In an interview with CBC News in September, Peters said he was leaning toward running for mayor. He declined another interview ahead of the formal announcement.
"There are a number of challenges that the city is facing and it could, in a number of people's view and in my own, we could benefit from a change at the top of the mayor's position," Peters said in September.
He said there appeared to be a divide at council between those who regularly voted with the mayor and those who don't. He said he would try to position himself as someone to bring the sides together.
While Peters hasn't regularly attended council meetings in person to observe, he said he regularly followed proceedings online.
Peters is owner of Lynnwood Strategies, a communications firm in Moncton. Previously, he was a vice president with communications firm M5. Before that, he was a manager with SWN Resources, Canada's oil and natural gas exploration program in New Brunswick.
Peters grew up in Sunny Brae and graduated from Moncton High School. He's been involved with the Progressive Conservatives, including running as a candidate in the 2007 Moncton East provincial byelection following Bernard Lord's resignation. He lost to Liberal Chris Collins.
Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold told reporters Monday she has made a decision about whether to reoffer and will make an announcement on Friday.
"I've never actually declared ever before March Break," Arnold said Monday when asked about potentially balancing duties as mayor and running for reelection over the coming months.
"It's 16 weeks from today. That is a very long time to be running a campaign and being mayor. It's going to be interesting."
Arnold was first elected as a city councillor in 2012 and had served as chair of the Frye Festival for 15 years. She became the city's first female mayor in 2016 when she defeated Brian Hicks.
She has emphasized downtown growth during her time leading the city.
Charles Burrell, founder of the Humanity Project in Moncton, posted on Facebook earlier this month he is running for mayor. However, he has not confirmed if he will actually run.