Nova Scotia

Pro-farm advocate wins Kings County byelection

The Kings County byelection Saturday night saw Patricia Bishop, an advocate for the preservation of farmland win the district 10 council seat over Peter Elderkin, who was pro-development.
Patricia Bishop won Kings County's district 10 seat Saturday with 693 votes. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)
The Kings County byelection Saturday night saw Patricia Bishop, an advocate for the preservation of farmland, win the district 10 council seat over Peter Elderkin, who was pro-development.

Of the two farmers on opposite sides of the issue of preserving farmland, it was organic farmer Bishop who won the district 10 council seat over her opponent Elderkin, a ninth-generation farmer who caused a stir  when he applied to have his farmland re-zoned for residential and commercial use.

Bishop won the county's district 10 Saturday with 693 votes over Elderkin's 441 votes, with a voter turnout of 31.9 per cent.

Bishop, 35, operates Tap Root Farms, where she grows fruits and vegetables.

She actively supported an organization on the other side of the issue called No Farms No Food. It wanted to force owners to keep the land agricultural.

Bishop doesn't think she won solely on the land-use issue.

Peter Elderkin got 441 votes in Saturday's byelection. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)
"Certainly when I went door to door, there were lots of questions about that, lots of people didn't necessarily know where I stood on the land thing and wanted clarification on what my position was," she said.

"I think for a lot of the voters that was one thing they wanted clarity on, but I don't think that was their only reason for getting out to vote."

Bishop ran a campaign that reached out to voters using social media and said she's committed to bringing vibrancy back to municipal politics, and hoped to keep the decisions of council transparent and move forward to keep young families living there.

She also said she's encouraged by the byelection's ability to engage younger and new voters.

"This win certainly makes me feel hopeful for our future, that people are willing to get out and to support change in the way we've been doing things. Certainly by the number of people that got out to vote yesterday, it's a clear indication that there are a lot of people that are passionate about seeing a chance happen."

Bishop said she heard from voters that roads should be a top priority for the county.