ADVOCATE HARBOUR – John Melanson said he has one simple goal in mind in seeking a seat on Cumberland County council. He wants to help people.
The Advocate resident is one of several candidates vying for the District 10 seat vacated recently following the death of longtime councillor Ratchford Merriam. The byelection will be held on Feb. 16.
“I’ve always been interested, and helping people has always been my main goal in life,” he said.
Born and raised in River Hebert, Melanson moved to Advocate from Port Howe in 2001 to open and operate a local campground. He and his family moved to the area full-time the following year, and he immediately joined the Advocate Volunteer Fire Department, which he has been active with ever since and now serves in the role of deputy chief.
But volunteering for Melanson did not start when he moved to Advocate. He had served as a village commissioner in River Hebert, and as a talented musician has performed all over the county in support of various causes, including the raising of $8,700 for the Children’s Wish Foundation through a series of concerts.
His combined love for music and volunteering continued in Advocate when he co-ordinated a local bluegrass festival. In the years it was held, all profits went to local non-profit organizations, not to mention the economic spin-offs created for local businesses.
“I’ve always had an interest in people; it’s just my forte that I can help people,” said Melanson. “I’m not looking for the praise, but I like the challenge and knowing I’ve helped someone.”
If elected, he said he has a number of priorities he wishes to pursue, including recreation for local families and seniors. On Jan. 22, he and local resident Michelle Berry will be holding a community meeting to measure interest in starting an outdoor ice rink for Advocate and area. Promoting tourism along the whole shore drive is also high on his list, to help support existing and new businesses.
The fire service also continues to be a favourite project for him, and he said he wants to be a representative at the council table for not only the two fire departments in District 10, but all of the county’s 14 rural fire departments.
He said he is committed to putting in seven days a week to county council, if elected.
“Let’s make a difference together,” he said.