- Leigh MacNeil
The 48-year-old says her passion lies in helping the community. She currently runs the food bank at St. Paul’s United Church in Spryfield, which she has worked hard to keep open during Covid despite the church itself being closed. “Because of the nature of my job, I want to help people, and I help people all the time, but it’s all short-term,” she says of supporting district residents. “I want to make long-term changes for them, and a lot of them don’t have a voice, and I want to become that voice for them.”
Hollery is passionate about several campaign issues, but food security is her top priority. “We can give people access to seed programs so they grow food on their decks. We can open more community gardens. We can make farmers’ markets and support those kinds of initiatives,” she says, pointing out that grocery stores are few and far between in places like Sambro and Prospect, making it extremely difficult for people to get food easily when they need it.
Additionally, Hollery would like to see rent control or some other way to ensure that people on fixed income don’t get pushed out of their homes by landlords. Constituents have told her that rent hikes have left them unable to buy food for the month. “It’s just a vicious cycle that we just need to stop, and look at everything and start working on a plan.”
She also hopes to reduce homelessness, saying there’s a problem with precarious housing. “We have a bunch of people that are living at the lake, so they can’t get housed because they don’t have a permanent address, which means they can’t get income assistance. It’s a crazy system that we need to slow down and look at, and that is what I hope to be able to do.”
Hollery says as a councillor she’s prepared to speak up and say things that people may not always want to hear, but in the same vein she’s ready to listen to the community, especially when it comes to important issues like defunding the police. “Everybody has a story,” she says. “People just want their story told and they want people to understand where they’re coming from. I think there’s solutions to everything, but it’s understanding and taking the time to really listen.”