Brenda Bonneville has been fixing lamps at her Belfast shop Ambiance for four years. It has given her an opportunity to listen to the community, especially through local controversies. She wants to use communication to repair residential ties if elected Ward 3 city councilor.

The French word for “step” is written on the shop floor in front of her door to grab people’s attention so they don’t trip. Bonneville said she has always thought out every new opportunity in her life.

About 14 years ago, the California native and her husband, who is from France, visited many New England states of equal distance between their home regions, seeking easier travel in both directions. They settled in Belfast for the charm and friendly atmosphere, she said.

“I just thought it had a good vibe,” Bonneville said. “I felt like … there was a sense of community — there were things to do.”

The atmosphere has become more divided in recent years with controversial projects and political divides, she said. It is what inspired her to run for City Council. She wants to help build healthy conversations around controversial topics without dividing people over the issues.

Bonneville hopes to swing the pendulum back toward the middle and doesn’t take a firm stance on either side of issues currently dividing Belfast. She feels sympathy for both sides of the Nordic Aquafarms argument but said there is nothing she can do now as far as supporting or opposing it if she is elected to City Council.

“What is disconcerting to me is that, you know, Belfast is really … a town that’s made up of a lot of different people, from different places, with different ideologies,” Bonneville said. “And lately, because of certain hot topics, there just hasn’t been a lot of stability.

“And I think that one of the reasons I live in Belfast … is because we can have different points of view. But my experience has been, we’ve always been very civil with each other. And I feel like we’re losing some of that.”

After spending nine years on the Waterfall Arts Board, she recently termed out. She has attended Planning Board and City Council meetings to get current on issues and people’s concerns and arguments for and against.

The dynamic between current city councilors and the mayor does not work, Bonneville said. She hopes to bring respectful listening to the council. She said she thinks her fair and balanced nature is a strength that would help her as a councilor.

Bonneville describes herself as being mildly involved in politics but aware of current issues. It is most important for her to help keep Belfast unique.

“More importantly, to be helpful in … making sure that Belfast retains its uniqueness and that … we can move forward in a mindful way, and maybe help be a part of that if I’m elected,” Bonneville said. “So, I’m not … super politically active. I’m politically aware and politically concerned and also community-oriented.”

Elections are Nov. 5 at the Crosby Center. Bonneville is running against Sophia Ridgely Fuller for the Ward 3 seat currently held by City Councilor Eric Sanders. Sanders is running unopposed for mayor.