Two mayoral candidates and 18 council candidates took turns speaking about climate change Monday at the Nelson United Church. Photo: Tyler Harper

Nelson candidates debate climate change at forum

Mayoral and council candidates had the chance to speak on five fictional resolutions

Candidates for mayor and council were grilled about climate change in front of a packed room Monday night at the Nelson United Church.

A forum organized by the West Kootenay EcoSociety, Nelson Interfaith Climate Action Collaborative, and the Citizens’ Climate Lobby brought candidates together to debate five resolutions following a presentation by local scientist Greg Utzig. Of the three mayoral and 19 council candidates, only Bernie Brown and Rob Richichi were absent.

Five candidates were given the opportunity to speak before those in attendance voted for or against each resolution. Below is each resolution, and a roundup of what was said.

Resolution No. 1:

Be it resolved that in order to protect taxpayers from these expenses, Nelson sign on to the campaign to hold the 20 biggest fossil fuel corporations accountable for their share of climate change costs.

Rik Logtenberg and Laureen Barker spoke in favour of the resolution, while John Dooley said council would need more information and mentioned possible penalties to the municipal gas tax income. Charles Jeanes ignored the question and spoke about the Leap Manifesto, which calls for an end to fossil fuel use in Canada. Cal Renwick also spoke but declined to take a side in his speech before voting against the motion. The motion passed.

Resolution No. 2:

Be it resolved that Nelson council direct staff to develop and implement a strategy at the community level for meeting the 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050 goal. This plan would be in place by 2020 and include specific milestones for each five-year period.

Keith Page supported the resolution and said he wants a long-term plan. Michelle Hillaby agreed with the resolution, so long as it is affordable within the municipal budget. (Hillaby later voted in favour of the resolution.) Jesse Woodward told residents that real global change is beyond Nelson’s capability, but supported the resolution on the grounds that the city can be a model for other communities. Leslie Payne said plans are already in place to meet the 2050 goal, and that consequences outweigh budgetary concerns. Brian Shields cited his public works experience and spoke in favour of the resolution. The motion passed.

Resolution No. 3:

Be it resolved that climate change cannot be dealt with at the municipal level, and the city and taxpayers should not be burdened with resolving this problem.

Margaret Stacey spoke on the resolution but did not take a side in her speech. Brittny Anderson opposed it, as did Janice Morrison who cited the development of a municipal emergency plan as an example of local climate change efforts. Stephanie Wiggins also opposed the resolution, and said the mental health of residents forced to stay indoors during smoky summers puts the onus on the city to deal with climate change. The motion was unanimously opposed.

Resolution No. 4:

Be it resolved that Nelson actually implement the existing active transport strategy by a) eliminating some car parking and road space to provide room for bicycle lanes and bicycle parking, and b) enacting a bylaw that declares downtown Nelson an Idle-Free Zone with penalties for unnecessary car idling.

Robin Cherbo suggested electric streetcars be added to downtown, that High Street become a one-way for cars and bikes, and that bike lanes be installed on Nelson Avenue. Robbie Kalabis said he would favour bike services set up for commuters coming into Nelson, and suggested blocking off part of Baker Street to vehicles. Travis Hauck spoke about different models of bikes that can make travel uphill easier, and suggested better signage for drivers and roundabouts that could help with traffic flow. Bob Adams said he wants to reduce the number of cars, not parking spots, and encourage carpooling. Joseph Reiner spoke in support of bike lanes, and Jesse Woodward said a model for bike sharing similar to the Kootenay Carshare Co-op could be implemented. The motion passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 5:

Be it resolved that Nelson consider a special one-time municipal tax increase to ensure adequate resources to prevent a wildfire disaster in the city, and that Nelson develop a sufficiently funded program to work with the RDCK and private landowners to decrease fire risk, provide incentives for those taking action and penalties for those who are not.

Deb Kozak said this motion should be deferred for information on provincial grants she said are on the way, and that FireSmart rules could be stiffened. Kalabis opposed, and said lobbying and collaboration between services would be more effective. Anderson didn’t support the motion as it doesn’t specify the amount of taxation or its exact use. Keith Page opposed and asked for a plan first from city staff. He did, however, say he would consider it if provincial grants were not available. Cherbo opposed because he said he believes provincial and federal grants should pay these kinds of costs. Logtenberg supported the motion by suggesting the provincial government won’t take Nelson seriously unless it is considering taxation. Morrison opposed the resolution on the grounds that provincial funds are already in place to do such work around Nelson. Dooley supported the resolution. He said some taxation is already going to fire mitigation, and that more can be done to clean up fuel in alleys and interchanges within the city limits. The motion passed.

Related:

Voters pack Nelson mayoral forum

PART 1: Nelson council candidate profiles

PART 2: Nelson council candidate profiles

PART 3: Nelson council candidate profiles

Candi-dating: ‘A beehive of conversation’ in Nelson

Nelson Election: Voting dates and info



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

An eager audience voted along with councillors on several fictional resolutions focused on climate change. Photo: Tyler Harper

Just Posted

Kootenay Lake ferry labour dispute ends with ratified agreement

The deal was approved by 83 per cent of members

Selkirk music students turn up the semester-end volume

Five different ensemble student bands will take the stage on Dec. 12

CP Holiday Train returning to Nelson next week

Train will stop at Lakeside Park railway crossing on Dec. 12 at 6:30 p.m.

Nelson police searching for missing woman

Heather Gunderson hasn’t been seen since Sunday

New system to keep Nakusp-area snowmobilers, caribou from meeting

GPS tracking keeps caribou safe while opening up the backcountry for sledding

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

Trustees ask for more help after tearful meeting on B.C. school’s ‘toxic’ stench

Enforcement has ‘no teeth,’ school trustee says, while kids become sick

Most Read