The City of Nelson received recognition from both the provincial government and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities last week when it received two awards.
Nelson was named one of BC’s Most Small-Business Friendly Communities by the province along with Kamloops, Nanaimo, North Vancouver District, Prince George and Smithers.
“We had no idea we would be receiving either award, actually,” said Mayor John Dooley.
At last week’s convention, Nelson also received a community excellence award in the partnerships category.
The award was in recognition for the City’s work as part of the new West Kootenay-Boundary transit committee.
The committee was formed as part of the City’s on-going improvements and upgrades to Nelson’s transit system.
“The transit one is kind of interesting because there was quite a pushback from many people about the changes to the transit system,” said Dooley. “But the work that we did upfront was the trigger for looking at a more regional strategy around transit.”
Dooley said he believes the regional approach to transit is leading to a better, more cohesive and more user-friendly system for the regional districts of Central Kootenay and Kootenay Boundary and the City of Nelson.
City councillor Donna Macdonald, who sits on the committee board, was very pleased about the community excellence award.
“It was great to see our work with the transit committee recognized,” she said. “We have to share it with BC Transit staff who have worked very hard to make this possible.”
The second transit committee meeting was held a couple weeks before the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention and Macdonald said there is a strong focus on the region as a whole instead of individual community interests.
She said the incoming Union president recognized the work Nelson had done around regional partnerships.
“He said it was a great submission, really impressive,” said Macdonald.
Partnerships were also central to the award received from the provincial government.
Evaluations for BC’s Most Small-Business Friendly Communities are based on local measures that enhance small business competitiveness, recognize the contributions of small businesses to the community and promote climate action plans that support small business.
“The business friendly award is a combination of the work we do with Invest Kootenay, Biz-Pal, Community Futures, the Chamber of Commerce and our regional economic development partnership,” said Dooley. “We really share the award with all of those players.”
Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce executive director Tom Thomson was pleased to see Nelson on the list of award recipients, noting the many organizations that work together to promote business opportunities in Nelson.
“Through our collaborative approach to economic development, as well as initiatives such as Invest Kootenay, it lets people know that the City of Nelson is open for business,” Thomson said. “The City is working to make the process of starting up a business as easy as possible.”
He added that the City has implemented recommendations to streamline the regulatory, licensing and permitting applications through the adoption of the online BizPal tool.
“We would like to see the City continue to work towards implementing a mobile license, as well as other recommendations in the report compiled for the City as part of the application process,” Thomson said.
“One issue we will continue to work with the City on is reducing business taxation for long-term sustainability and support for businesses, building owners or developers looking at moving forward with upgrades to existing businesses, or new development to help us grow the tax base.”