Strong slate vies to replace Jody Mitic in Innes ward

Three women who have spent time behind the scenes at city hall and an Armed Forces veteran are competing for Jody Mitic's empty seat.

'We'd be lucky to have any of them,' says community association president

All four candidates for councillor in Innes ward met with candidates at an event hosted by the Chapel Hill North Community Association on Oct. 3. Clockwise from top left are Laura Dudas, Donna Leith-Gudbranson, François Trépanier, and Tammy Lynch.

Three women who have spent time behind the scenes at city hall and a retired member of the Armed Forces are trying to differentiate themselves as they compete for Jody Mitic's empty seat in Innes ward.

Mitic, a veteran of the Afghanistan war, decided not seek a second term and has been on leave for health reasons.

Laura Dudas, Donna Leith-Gudbranson, Tammy Lynch and François Trépanier agree the main issue facing Innes ward is transportation.

Homes and stores keep going up south of Innes Road, but the roads and transit service aren't keeping pace

That area is also a bit too far south of the future second phase of light rail to connect into it easily, they say, so an extension to Brian Coburn Boulevard must be a priority.

Differentiating themselves at the door

With little disagreement over the issues the candidates are trying to set themselves apart, especially given the three female candidates are all well-spoken and have all worked at city hall.

Laura Dudas worked in communications at the city and said her years as president of the Blackburn Community Association will help her advocate for funding for the area's infrastructure and lure employers. 

"It's that tenacity and making sure the east end's voice is heard," said Dudas.

"Because it's our turn."

Until she started campaigning, Tammy Lynch worked in Mitic's office, so she said she's up-to-date on all the files and resident concerns. 

"For me to start on Dec. 1, there'd be no learning curve. I'm ready to get to work on Day 1," she said.

Two bilingual candidates

Meanwhile, Donna Leith-Gudbranson spent six years working for Coun. Tim Tierney in Beacon Hill-Cyrville and for Mitic's predecessor in Innes ward, Rainer Bloess. 

She said she has the support of both men.

"I always feel like I learned from the best," she said.

She would want to spend a lot of time in the ward meeting residents instead of hearing their complaints over the phone from city hall.

Leith-Gudbranson may not have a francophone name, but makes sure to let voters know she's fluently bilingual.

It's a quality she thinks is important for a councillor who represents thousands of French-speaking residents.

The other bilingual candidate, François Tré​panier, has not spent the same time around city hall.

He served nearly three decades in the Armed Forces before turning to business and said he's proud of his two masters degrees in education and public administration.

"That means you've conducted a lot of research, you're able to look into issues and make up your mind for yourself," he said.

Voters have good choices this election, said Katie Morissette, president of the Chapel Hill North Community Association.

"We'd be very lucky to have any of them."