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Waye Mason, councillor for Halifax south and downtown, says planning on the Downtown Halifax Business Commission 2030 vision has to start today. (Jacob Moore/Acadia Broadcasting)

Councillor Waye Mason running for Halifax mayor

By Jacob Moore Jun 10, 2024 | 12:04 PM

Halifax Coun. Waye Mason is throwing his hat into the ring to be the next mayor of Halifax.

Mason said he wants to make the city more affordable for everyone and to build more housing faster.

“Seniors, young adults, newcomers and working people are worried that they will be pushed out of Halifax,” said Mason in a speech.

Mason, councillor for District 7, Halifax south and downtown, announced his plans to run at The Dart Gallery Monday afternoon. He grew up in Dartmouth and has been a councillor since 2012.

Mason is the fifth candidate to announce a campaign, along with Coun. Pam Lovelace, Clay Bowser, Ryan Dodge and Nolan Greenough.

In his campaign speech, Mason focused on housing and affordability, along with leveraging his experience as a councillor. He said his slogan, “mayor day one,” suggests he has the experience to get to work right away.

Housing, affordability focused

In his speech, he said Halifax is building a record amount of housing, but it’s still not enough and the regional council needs “a new approach.”

However, a campaign news release, handed out at the gallery, suggests something different.

“Mason insists now is not the time to change direction, second guess our choices, nor the time to build a new plan,” the press release reads.

When asked to clarify the discrepancy, Mason said his new plans would “run parallel” to what the city’s already doing.

“We’ve never had housing growth that we see now,” he said. “We’re growing faster than ever. We need to double down on that.”

Mason said the regional council needs to find new ways to “make sure there’s affordable housing in market housing and that we’re building our own affordable housing.”

He said if he’s elected, the city could take back some housing from the province. But that’s only one potential option, and he said he’ll release more information leading up to the election.

Mason’s oldest son lives in an apartment on the north side of Halifax, splitting monthly rent, about $1450, with his partner. Mason said they’re worried about where they would go if they’re rent evicted.

“That is a real concern. It’s not just for my kids. It’s for lots and lots of people who are starting out or who have just moved here. We need to have more [housing] supply. We need to have more workforce housing. We need more deeply affordable housing,” said Mason.

Other councillors attend announcement

Multiple current and former city councillors attended Mason’s campaign announcement, including Coun. Lisa Blackburn, Coun. Iona Stoddard, Coun. Tony Mancini, along with former councillor Bill Karsten.

Lisa Blackburn is the councillor for District 14, Middle and Upper Sackville, Beaver Bank and Lucasville.

As regional councillors, she said she’s worked with Mason for the last eight years.

“I deeply believe in what Waye Mason brings to the table,” said Blackburn.