Nova Scotia

Pedal to the people: Gina Stanley bikes Richmond County campaign trail

A candidate running for council in Richmond, N.S., this fall is campaigning in her district by bicycle.

'If I was in a car I would just drive by,' says council candidate

Gina Stanley wears a T-shirt that reads "Vote for Gina," as she cycles through District 2 in Richmond County campaigning for the municipal election in October. (Joan Weeks/CBC)

One candidate in this autumn's election in Richmond County is taking a unique approach to campaigning: Gina Stanley plans to travel the entire district by bicycle.

You get to make more of a personal connection.- Gina Stanley

Stanley, a physical education teacher who lives in Cap La Ronde, is new to politics.

"I think I'm being a good role model for students, leading by example," Stanley said of her cycling.

She estimates it will take about 40 days to go up every driveway in the District 2 riding.

"District 2 is a very large district geographically. It has 720 homes and 1,840 residents," she said.

Richmond County was not able to provide CBC News with a list of people who have declared their intention to run for District 2. The official candidate lists are not compiled until closer to the October election date.

'More of a personal connection'

After just over a week on the road, Stanley said she discovered some advantages to travelling by bicycle.

"You see people up close and you get to make more of a personal connection with residents because you might see someone walking on the road or checking their mail mailbox. You can just quickly stop and say hi," she said.

Gina Stanley says cycling through the campaign trail has allowed her to meet more residents than if she was driving a car. (Joan Weeks/CBC)

"If I was in a car I would just drive by them, right? Like most people would."

Stanley asks everyone she visits to fill out a questionnaire, and said a 2015 audit has been coming up as an issue a lot.

"There's a little unrest in the county," she said. "They're upset about what is going on with expenses in the county for sure."

'A lot of fresh ideas'

On Monday, Stanley was visiting people in D'Escousse. That's where Damian Phillips owns the local pub and restaurant.

Phillips said Stanley's biking effort will influence his voting decision.

"I think it will make a difference. I mean, she's obviously got a lot of fresh ideas," he said. "I think it goes a long way to try and meet the community face to face. I think it's good."


  • A previous version of this story said District 2 in Richmond County, N.S., would be "up for grabs" in an upcoming autumn election because incumbent Coun. Steve Sampson announced he was not re-offering. In fact, Steve Sampson is the councillor for District 9, not District 2.
    Jul 26, 2016 1:04 PM AT


Joan Weeks


Joan Weeks has been a reporter with CBC in Sydney for over a decade. Many of her stories are investigative with a focus on government spending and accountability, as well as health and economic issues important to Cape Breton.