GUYSBOROUGH — Flags on the Municipality of the District of Guysborough’s (MODG’s) office on Pleasant Street were lowered to half-mast on Monday (Sept. 11), upon news of the passing of Lloyd Hines, who had served as MODG warden for 16 years, from 1997 to 2013.
Hines, who was born in Neil’s Harbour, Cape Breton, came to the eastern mainland to study at StFX University in Antigonish, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English literature. He later found his way to Guysborough, where he was a well-known businessman before his entry into politics.
His first political appointment, Hines told The Journal in an interview in 2021, was election to the local school board in 1982, followed by his first election to MODG council in 1988.
Following his tenure as warden, Hines was elected to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly as MLA for Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie in 2013, and was re-elected in 2017. During his time at Province House, he served in cabinet as minister of natural resources and minister of transportation and infrastructure renewal.
After failing to win re-election to the provincial legislature in 2021, Hines announced his retirement from politics. In an interview at that time, he told The Journal, “I do believe that we have made a difference in the communities that we were given responsibility to help... It’s a bit of a thankless role [politician] but for me that didn’t bother me because I knew and believed and still believe that things that we’ve done, and been able to do, will be of a lasting nature.”
During his years as MODG warden, Hines oversaw many economic development initiatives, such as the second-generation landfill near Boylston and the locating of the Sable Gas facility in Goldboro, which significantly improved the municipality’s financial footing.
Those who worked with Hines in the MODG spent much of the day of his passing reflecting on his political legacy and the many years they spent sitting across the table from him in council.
MODG Warden Vernon Pitts worked with Hines – first as a fellow councillor and later as his deputy warden for 14 years.
Pitts said Hines served as a mentor, especially in the role of warden. He recalled that Hines encouraged MODG councillors to sit in the front row of any conference, to take up space, be seen and heard; a tactic that did get the municipality the recognition Hines believed it deserved.
“The man’s leadership was just phenomenal. I can’t compare him to anyone. You know, he was almost like a chameleon, he could change to suit whatever scenario popped up,” said Pitts, adding, “He was always a team player. He was a bit aggressive at times, but there’s times that call for aggressiveness. And, he would step up to the plate, he would go to battle for the municipality at the drop of a hat. You did not chastise the municipality in front of Lloyd Hines.”
Hines’ commitment to the MODG was well-known. Pitts said, “MODG was first and foremost on Lloyd’s mind all the time; he never wavered from that...He was always approachable. He always had an active role. You know, sometimes it was behind the scenes, but he was always involved.”
Pitts also told The Journal that Hines was always forward-thinking and brought forth various initiatives, such as the first sidewalks in the village of Guysborough, the performance centre in Guysborough, Canso amalgamation, the Sable Wind project and much more.
Asked what he thought Hines’ legacy would be in the MODG, Pitts said, “I hope he’ll be remembered in a positive sense...just by his leadership and what Guysborough ended up with today, vis-à-vis what we had when he first became warden. The man, his vision was just unimaginable.”
Barry Carroll has been the chief administrative officer (CAO) in the MODG for 14 years. He told The Journal that, along with the rest of council, Hines had been instrumental in hiring him.
In the intervening years, Carroll first worked with Hines on council and later, after Hines became an MLA, when provincial and municipal affairs mixed.
Reflecting on Hines’ passing, Carroll said, “One thing that stands out for me, obviously, he was a natural leader. And he was well read, well educated...He was passionate about Guysborough. He was passionate about local government...he was passionate about the role that local government could play in the lives of people who live in our communities. You know, he was all in on Guysborough... [And] when I say Guysborough, the broader Guysborough; it was all elements of our municipality, of our county.”
Carroll said Hines was focused on growth in the MODG to create opportunities for the people who lived in the municipality and entice more people to settle in the area. He also was involved in bringing the CAO model of municipal governance to the MODG, and was a long-time chair of the Milford Haven Home for Special Care in Guysborough.
In the role of MLA, Carroll said Hines helped secure funding for the Chedabucto Lifestyle Centre in Guysborough, which is a focal point in the community and brings many visitors to the area for the recreational opportunities offered at the centre.
Hines also courted his fair share of political controversy. Nova Scotia’s Office of the Ombudsman published a report in 2017 that called out Hines for spending practices during his time in the warden’s chair. As the provincial minister of transportation, he was criticized for the department’s management of the Yarmouth to Maine ferry.
Carroll concluded his reflections by stating that Hines “left an indelible impact on Guysborough. I think we’ll always remember him; he did so many positive things...He was very passionate about and for the people of Guysborough.”
On Sept. 12, the MODG issued a public statement on the passing of Hines which states, in part, “Lloyd had many accomplishments during his time in municipal government, and his forward-looking thinking shaped our municipality into the strong, successful community that it is today. His legacy will live on infinitely for the positive impact that Lloyd had on our communities.”