Opinion

A year in the life of Nelson city council

Candace Batycki (right) on election night a year ago shares the celebration with Donna Macdonald. - Megan Cole photo
Candace Batycki (right) on election night a year ago shares the celebration with Donna Macdonald.
— image credit: Megan Cole photo

On November 19, 2011 — almost one year ago — 1,445 Nelson citizens checked my name when their turn came to stand in a voting booth in the Central School gym with a slip of paper and a pencil. It was a bitterly cold day. The first snows of the season had frozen into treacherous clumps. Thank you to those of you who braved the elements and participated in our democracy. It truly is an honour to serve the citizens of Nelson, and I thank you for putting your trust in me.

During a campaign there are lots of ideas, issues and promises. Once you get down to governing, some issues advance, some shift and some stall. New issues and ideas appear. I do monitor progress on my platform and try to ensure that the issues I talked about are moving, whether my role in them is large or small.

There have been many joys this year. One was helping volunteers with the Seniors Economic Environment Development (SEED) project put the first seeds into pots at the Lakeside greenhouses. This group has a big dream that includes fresh healthy food for everyone, with youth and seniors working and sharing side by side.

Another personal highlight was passing a resolution opposing expanding pipelines and tankers on BC’s coast, and speaking at the send-off rally for the Kootenay to Kitimat Karavan.

I am also enjoying serving on the board of Touchstones Nelson, and at the Kootenay Lake Partnership.

There are so many amazing community groups, but I particularly want to recognize the Nelson Transit Community Group for all their great work organizing community involvement in transit issues this year. As transit changes take effect, I hope we will see more and more people getting on the bus, saving money and time and reducing emissions.

I also want to thank all those who have served on the Community Heritage Commission. This year the structure of City commissions and committees was completely revamped, an occasionally stressful process. Some on the commission and in the larger heritage community wondered how Nelson’s heritage, a priceless community asset, would be safeguarded into the future.

After the winter holidays the Cultural Development Commission will strike a heritage working group, as required in the new by-law. Serving on that body is only one of many ways to work for heritage preservation in the Queen City. I am confident for the future of heritage in Nelson.

Planning for the 2013 budget gets underway this week, and will consume much of our attention for the rest of the year. The Railtown/Cottonwood working group of the Downtown-Waterfront steering committee will hold a public event early in 2013 to talk about how we are collectively, over time, transforming that end of town into a beautiful, welcoming neighbourhood full of art, nature and, yes, heritage, including a new city park on the site of the old transfer station. It will take a while, but together we’ll get there.

This year council passed motions supporting the regional agriculture plan and the proposal for a regional food council. I wonder if we need an urban food strategy, to help us prioritize resources and improve food security for Nelson. As always, the community needs to lead. Tell us your ideas.

On that note, let’s talk about talking. During the campaign I put up a website, and even tweeted a little, but I’ve since fallen off the social media wagon. One of my resolutions for this mandate is to get back on, so I’m relaunching my website. You can find it at councilorbatycki.org. It’s pretty thin yet, but on the front page you’ll find a link to a feedback survey; please take a few minutes to tell me what’s on your mind. It’s been a full year of budgets, meetings, events, issues and debates. I think I’m getting the hang of it. What do you think?

 

Candace Batycki is a Nelson city councillor who shares this space with her colleagues around the table.

 

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