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On the phone with newbie-incumbent Paul Russell, District 15

"“By having Uber on the streets it will mean that it’ll provide competition for the taxi industry, and I generally believe competition is a really good thing. I don’t like monopolies.”

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Living in Sackville for 25 years, Paul Russell has spent time on the school board, volunteering in the community and running for a conservative MP seat in the last federal election.

Then in 2019, Russell ran in the October by-election in Lower Sackville, after Steve Craig made the move to provincial politics.

“I am able to have a bigger impact as councillor than I was as you know, in my previous position when I was just a volunteer. And so I simply would like to be able to continue with that,” says Russell.

Over the past year, he’s worked on addressing ultra-local issues like getting a guard rail installed on Cobequid Road and improving the water quality of First Lake.

“For years First Lake has had a problem with E. coli. We have had high E. coli counts and people in the community know that if you want to go swimming you don’t go swimming at Kinsmen Beach because it’s got a bacteria problem,” says Russell.

But he also has taken a stance and voiced his opinion on municipality-wide issues, including the large corporations that want to pop up in the city like Airbnb and Uber.

“By having Uber on the streets it will mean that it’ll provide competition for the taxi industry, and I generally believe competition is a really good thing. I don’t like monopolies,” he says.

When talking about election issues, the District 15 councillor says some policing resources need to be re-assigned and mental health services improved.

“It’s nowhere near as simple as “defund the police” or “defend the police” makes it sound, we’ve got to look much more into that issue,” he says.

Whether he's re-elected or not, Russell is proud of his community.

"We have an awful lot of incredibly good things happening here in Sackville, we’ve got strong community groups that are doing a lot of really good things and it’s great to be able to support them," he says. "I would just appreciate the opportunity to continue doing that. "

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