My Italian grandparents arrived here in the late 1800s and my father worked in Nelson for CPR. I attended Notre Dame University in 1966 to 1967, and then I was hired by the Ministry of Transportation and Highways. I have resided in Nelson since 1978, when I started to work for Nelson district highways. Married to Colleen Driscoll RN, in 1993. We purchased our first house in Uphill. For many years I was an activist with my union, BCGEU, and then I became more politically active after the cutbacks to Kootenay Lake Hospital services. Retiring in 2002, I became a co-chair for Save our Services. After elected in 2005, I joined the Nelson and Area Health Task Force. I joined Nelson Rotary in 2009.
Completing two terms for council, my motivation for seeking a third term is to represent the citizens of Nelson as an advocate for transit services, health services, responsible developments and supporter of the city police, fire department and public employees. My accomplishments have been working to retain the City of Nelson airport; bringing awareness of health care issues, along with being a supporter of seniors, addressing affordable housing and homelessness issues. I have also being involved with our corporate plans: Water and Sewer Master Plan, OCP, Sustainability Path to 2040, GHG reduction of the city carbon footprint and Downtown and Waterfront Master plan. As well as being liaison to seniors, Nelson Committee on Homelessness, Social Action Planning Committee, and Nelson Electric Tramway Society.
TOP THREE ISSUES
#1. To provide an economically viable transit system for the City of Nelson in conjunction with our regional partners. To revisit providing Sunday bus service by city public employees and look at getting smaller buses for evening runs. Many citizens who do not have a car or cannot drive rely on Nelson transit to provide economical transportation. It is also a way to get people out of vehicles, make transportation more affordable and reduce our carbon footprint. In order to assist in funding this service we need to look at advertising, bus ticket packages and universal photo passes for the whole transit system. While BC Transit is reviewing the whole regional transit services they have promised a public forum to discuss and review the bus service issues. It is a balancing act to provide city bus service and do it in an economically viable system.
#2. The other issue that is coming to the forefront is whether to allow the expansion of the baseball field in Lions Park. This may appear to be just an issue in the Uphill area of Nelson, but it brings into question the use of playing fields throughout the city. We need to take into consideration if there are other locations for a baseball park and how it could be a joint venture between the city and regional district. All public parks in the city need to be reviewed in a master plan that determines how sports fields are governed, funded and allocated in the city. As we all know, people from the city and regional district use the playing fields and that is why there needs to be a regional approach and solution.
#3. An important issue is dealing with affordable housing and homelessness. We have lowered the cost of the water and sewer hook-ups by 20 per cent, for secondary suites, however we could lobby the provincial government for rent controls. While we receive financial donations from developments, it is not enough to fund affordable housing. Costs of housing include property taxes however the citizens of Nelson want to keep public services along with no increase in property tax. The high demand for housing, along with inflation, has affected the cost of housing and rentals which make it difficult to have a reduction of purchase prices. There is no one solution, nevertheless the city could provide land for a land trust to build on. I would also like the city council to advocate for provincial job training and local micro credit for people wanting to start a small business as a way to reduce homelessness.