A political race began in early April when Councillor Brian Hicks announced his candidacy for mayor.
When asked why he decided to run for mayor, Hicks said, “I’ve been elected and re-elected five times now, I’ve been on city council for over 16 years, my 25 years of business experience. I just feel now that I am qualified.”
Mr. Hicks has been a resident of Moncton for 35 years. He also worked for Lafarge Construction Materials for 35 years, and during 25 of them, he was the general manager and vice-president of two inter-provincial trucking companies. He entered municipal politics in 1999 when he was first elected to Council.
“One of the things I want to make sure is that this election isn’t about me; it’s about the residents of Moncton. My time on council has never been about me. My main priority has always been about listening to the people,” said Hicks.
His primary concern if elected is ensuring the $105,000,000 downtown events center is constructed on time and on budget. According to Hicks, there are also seven acres of land around the future events center that the city has heavily invested in, as well as the Downing Street Project, which both need to be careful developed.
When it comes to the youth of Moncton, he said he would like to see the city council’s Youth Advisory Committee and Senior Advisory Committee work more closely together, giving both groups the chance to learn more from each other. “[There are] so many stories that could be shared with the youth,” said Hicks. “I think it’s important for the seniors to be able to sit and dialogue and just talk with the youth and find out what their problems are.”
Regarding the recreation facilities, trails, and bike lanes the city has financed, Hicks said, “We spent a lot of money in those areas of recreation. I think there is probably more we can do, because not all the youth are interested in sports, to encourage them to get involved in the arts or theater or whatever they are interested in.”
Another project Hicks is looking to put through is an upgrade to the TransAqua facility, which is the wastewater treatment plant that services Moncton, Dieppe, and Riverview. Funding has already been set aside for the project, all that is missing is contributions from both the provincial and federal government. Having served on the board for TransAqua and already attended meetings with the provincial government to lobby for these funds, Hicks believes he can see the project through and with no effect on the city’s finances.
During his time on council, Hicks has been known for asking lots of questions and looking further into some issues. When work needed to be done on the water distribution system, Hicks convinced council to do a report which showed that the cost for the city to do it was $30 million less than their estimates. This kept our water distribution system from being privatized by US Filter and helped the city save money. His most notorious investigation, however, was the Rogers Parking Deal. In 2002, the city of Moncton approved a contract with the Rogers Call Center, which gave them free parking for 10 years. It was later revealed in a leaked document that the contract was signed for a 25-year deal. Over several years, Hicks continued to ask questions and had an internal auditor do a report which showed that the council had only approved a contract of 10 years. Council then asked Hicks to negotiate with the developer, who ended up giving away the last 14 years of the signed contract, which saved the city roughly $7 million.
Along with living and working in Moncton, Hicks also raised a family in this city. “There were just so many things that you could do with a young family,” he said. “There’s just a good mix of people here. We only thought we were going to be here for a few years, and then when we were here for a few years. We just had to fight to stay here, because [my company] wanted to move us other places.”
Hicks announced his candidacy much later than Dawn Arnold, but he said, “We started late, we’re certainly running behind, we don’t have the resources our opponent has, but we have a really great group of people that just came together very quickly.”
For more information on Brian Hicks, check out his website: www.brianhicks.ca
The City Council of Moncton has a Youth Advisory Committee and a Senior Advisory Committee. Both groups’ goal is to connect council with that particular community and how they see the city. The Youth Advisory Committee is made up of twelve high school students from Bernice MacNaughton, L’École Oddyssée, Harrison Trimble, and Moncton High. Applications are open for 2016-2017. For more information visit the City of Moncton’s website: www.moncton.ca/Government/Committees/Youth