VIDEO: Savage elected for second term as Halifax mayor

Mike Savage won a victory against rival Lil MacPherson and a second term as Mayor of Halifax Regional Municipality Saturday.

Latest results available Saturday evening from HRM polling stations showed that Savage won 61,390 votes — 68.5 per cent — against MacPherson’s 31.5 per cent.

“I feel great,” Savage told the Chronicle Herald as he greeted supporters at the Dartmouth Sportsplex.

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Savage campaigned on a platform of protecting green spaces, rolling out sustainable transit, increasing arts funding and transforming the Cogswell Interchange into a new residential and commercial area. He also pointed to Halifax’s increasing cultural diversity.

“The face of Halifax is changing,” he said. “We have different looks now. You just need to visit a mosque and see the new Canadians coming to Halifax.”

The newly re-elected mayor pointed to his lapel pin, saying that it represented an increasingly diverse and inclusive city, stressing his support for arts and culture as well as making it easier for businesses to grow.

“I think it’s a great thing,” he said.

While managing taxes was important for Savage, he also said that he wanted to invest in both public and green spaces and make more recreation services free for the public.

Savage described Halifax as a “gateway to North America,” that included amenities such as world-class universities and whose population of young people was finally growing again after years of out-migration.

“When I leave municipal politics, I want a city that’s growing comfortably, sustainably, that is welcoming people from around the world and is providing opportunities for everybody,” said Savage.

He urged voters to work together, citing the 100 Wild Islands protected wilderness area as an example of what can be achieved. The Nova Scotia Nature Trust has so far managed to protect more than 80 per cent of the 7,000 acre Wild Islands.

Savage said that as a person could drive from downtown Halifax and its constantly-changing skyline to the Wild Island’s Zodiac, an area that has been unchanged for centuries, thanks to people working together.

“Together we can do a whole lot more,” said Savage.

The mayor kept up his campaigning all through Saturday as Haligonians cast their ballots at polling stations, visiting the Lebanese Cultural Centre, a fire station and voters in North Preston, among other places.

He also spent time at the final resting place of his parents.

His father, John, was a former Dartmouth mayor and one-time premier.

"We stand on the shoulders of those who went before," Savage later told his supporters.

MacPherson acknowledged her opponent's popularity and said she hopes some of the issues brought forward in the campaign by her and her supporters will be taken up by the new council.

Savage also paid tribute to MacPherson, saying that there was no guarantee he would win a landslide as there were many reasons not to vote for an incumbent. In Savage’s case that meant handling controversial issues such as HRM’s stormwater tax.

“She ran a very good race,” said Savage, adding that he learned from her on the campaign trail.

After winning the vote Savage mingled with and gave thanks to his supporters at the Sportsplex.

One such supporter was Stefano Anderson, who was excited at the prospect of a new Savage term.

“I think that it’s been a fantastic campaign on all ends,” said Anderson.

He was keen to keep growing the economy but also reach out to “more sections,” of the community to help Halifax truly “take off,” as a city.

“They’ve shown their support to us and we’re going to show our support back to them,” said Anderson.

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