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Edwards taking a shot at Ward 2 council seat

'I believe I am able to amplify voices around me who may sometimes not speak up and have been, in essence, left voiceless,' says Shanicka Edwards, founder of Shak's World

Editor's note: BarrieToday is running profile stories on candidates for city council in each of the city's 10 wards in the coming weeks. For more election coverage, visit our 2022 municipal election page by clicking here, where you can also find mayoral profiles and other election news. 

Shanicka Edwards is stepping to the line and taking her shot in the race for the city councillor’s seat in Ward 2, a place she not only calls home but also says she's passionate about.

Edwards, who is in her mid-20s, is the face of Shak’s World Community Centre, located on Maple Avenue in downtown Barrie, which serves as a community hub for basketball and services aimed toward the city’s youth. 

Edwards said she initially thought about running for city council in January and has since had several conversations with community members and other local politicians on whether she could, as she puts it, “do it justice.”

“I care deeply about the downtown community as well as the surrounding area. Ward 2 makes up more than just the downtown,” Edwards told BarrieToday. “I want to make sure there are clean streets, and ensure there is someone who is passionate and knowledgeable about this community.

"It is important to have someone in this role who is going to show up for their community members when it gets tough and to hear them out and build a community as a community," she added. 

Edwards says her ethnicity and gender were driving factors for her when the topic would come up about her running. As a Black woman, Edwards says she believes it's important that the political community is more reflective of the entire community. 

“I’m happy to be that person, because I do believe I am a strong voice in the community and tend to stand up for this I believe in, but also listen to the voices of everyone around me,” said Edwards, who officially joined the race Friday morning. “I believe I am able to amplify voices around me who may sometimes not speak up and have been, in essence, left voiceless.”

The municipal election will take place Monday, Oct. 24. 

Edwards was asked what she believed was the most important issue heading into the city election. She said at the top of her list is the homelessness crisis.

“I want to address the homelessness in our community and find a wraparound service for the people affected by this," she said. "It is not getting better and is actually getting worse, and we need to find a solution immediately."

Edwards also told BarrieToday she has a five-point campaign plan, which includes homelessness, affordability, business development, community engagement, and crime prevention.

She also hopes to build on what she has created through Shak’s World and extend it into the community from a council seat. 

“I know I have built a beautiful community here at the centre and now I look forward to expanding that outside the walls and into the greater community,” Edwards said. “I remember years ago that Barrie’s slogan had something to do with being well connected, but I feel we have become more and more disconnected. I hope to get us back to being together and doing amazing things for our great city.”

As of July 25, Craig Nixon is the only other confirmed candidate in Ward 2. Coun. Keenan Aylwin, who is the incumbent, has not announced his intentions to seek re-election. 

The nomination window for candidates closes on Friday, Aug. 19.