An hour after the deadline for civic election candidates to declare their intention to run in the upcoming election, those seeking office participated in the first all-candidates forum Friday.
The forum was organized as part of last week’s Homelessness Action Week.
Of the eight candidates who have declared for council and three mayoral candidates, six potential councillors attended along with current Mayor John Dooley.
Incumbents Deb Kozak, Donna Macdonald, Bob Adams and Robin Cherbo attended along with newcomers Candace Batycki and Paula Kiss.
Mayoral hopefuls George Mercredi and Richard Rowberry did not participate.
Unlike the standard all-candidates forum, where interested members of the community ask questions of the panel of candidates, each candidate was assigned to a table where they listened to discussion around four topics related to homelessness.
Those topics were: Making a difference for the homeless in Nelson, poverty and its impact on youth in Nelson, employment and living wage, and food security in Nelson.
After each table had an hour to discuss the topics, the candidates presented what they learned in the discussions.
Some of the topics presented by the candidates included: training and jobs for youth, the need for more funds for government housing, and safe camping for homeless in Nelson
Adams said his table discussed the need for more government funds for housing, more youth housing and the need for training and jobs for youth, a youth liaison, keeping the city campground open year round, more covered spaces for people to get out of the rain, and allowing chickens in the city.
Councillor Deb Kozak surprised the group by saying her group discussed potential cases of police brutality in the city.
Kozak emphasized that if people are experiencing excessive force from Nelson police officers, they should go to the police board or Mayor Dooley, who sits on the board, and present a formal complaint.