The Nelson Star contacted the three mayoral and 10 council candidates and asked them to answer four questions regarding the upcoming municipal election on November 15. We asked the candidates to limit their responses to 300 words.
The four questions are:
1. Why are you running?
2. How can the city help local businesses grow?
3. What are your feeling about development?
4. What do you feel is the biggest issue of this election?
Here’s what they had to say!
John Dooley — Incumbent:
1. When I was first elected as your mayor, I made a pledge to the people of Nelson to lead the City based on the needs, dreams and aspirations of our citizens. Since then, Nelson has taken its rightful place on the provincial, national and world stage. We have created an environment in which people want to live, work and invest.
I continue to be passionate about Nelson and want to continue to serve our citizens by capitalizing on the hard work of council, volunteers, and others.
2. When I first became mayor, I committed to being an advocate for business and I have lived up to that commitment. Moving forward, I will strengthen our business sector by:
Continuing to support our Chamber of Commerce, Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership, and Destination Marketing.
- Expanding our broadband.
- Working regionally.
- Shopping local.
I want entrepreneurs to know that city hall is approachable, supportive and that Nelson is “open for business.”
3. I am a proponent of solid planning. Our official community plan and sustainability plan were created through extensive consultation, are revisited regularly and will help guide us in the years ahead.
4. This election is about choosing a mayor and group of councillors who will do the best job of leading Nelson over the next four years.
Who is best suited to chair our council, and the police board? Who is best qualified to represent us regionally, provincially and nationally, and on the West Kootenay Boundary hospital board? Who has proven that they have the capacity to enable community groups to realize their dreams?
It is about deciding who has the competence, trust and experience to lead our community down the positive, exciting path that we have created together.
Deb Kozak — Challenger:
1. I’m a positive, progressive leader who will continue to move Nelson towards a healthy, sustainable future. In my nine years on council, I’ve seen how the passion of residents and community groups lead to great things, from the re-opening of the Civic Theatre to the building of a skatepark in Rosemont. But I’ve also seen ideas never make it to the table for a full discussion, like the proposal put forward by Nelson business owners to lift the dog bylaw for a trial period or whether or not to allow backyard chickens.
If we can’t talk about seemingly smaller issues, we will not overcome the bigger challenges, like development proposals, that are facing our community. As your mayor, I would welcome the tough conversations that lead us to a deeper exploration of who we could be.
2. As a member of the Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership I’ve taken an active role in removing roadblocks that stall business growth. We’ve streamlined processes and bylaws for business and created great tools like the Invest Kootenay website. Other ways I’d support business growth:
- Work with commercial property owners to revitalize our downtown core.
- Advocate for improved airport service into Castlegar.
- Work with the Intelligent Communities Forum to extend the broadband network to home businesses
- Embrace cultural-led economic development, like festivals and sports tournaments, that bring spin-off benefits to local business
3. Nelson is a vibrant, diverse community with an intelligent, involved citizenry. I welcome development that engages and energizes residents and represents the values of our community. Development proposals challenge us to consider our shared future and how we will continue to be a sustainable and desirable place to live.
4. Ensuring Nelson is an affordable place to live, grow and work. Affordable rental units, innovative secondary suite policies, improved public transit and accessible local services will help both the people and businesses of Nelson. Increased affordability helps everyone, not just those who need it. If we listen to our business owners, our non-profit leaders, our families, we can make it happen.
Pat Severyn — Challenger:
1. I was asked to run by a number of concerned citizens. I have talked about it for years and this is the right time. The current way the city is being run causes a lot of concerns to a great number of people. For example the Hall Street project is going to be of huge expense to the city and the general feeling is it was pushed through and rushed after close minded consultation. I am the only candidate to date that is going to re-open discussion on that project. The transparency is not there and I, along with council, want to rebuild the trust and transparency in council.
2. The most proactive way to help business grow is to get as many citizens involved in our community at all levels. When we all participate in planning and solving problems, we become more engaged and tend to invest in our city. This in turn has a positive outcome and creates a close knit community that wants to invest financially in what we have by spending locally. Business becomes more successful and new business wants to be part of that.
3. Development in this city has to be clean, sustainable and most of all thoughtful. We can’t be too bureaucratic and bog down the process so development doesn’t take place. The city council as a group can look at incentives to stimulate growth in Nelson but has to keep in mind our heritage and current development practices.
4. The current issues in Nelson are as diverse as the city itself. They range from affordable housing to the Hall Street project and on to safe food. All issues have to be heard and dealt with by a council that works together. Everyone in Nelson should have a voice and not be frustrated because of not being heard. Councillors need to be informed by both citizens and city administration and need to be informed with real facts so decisions can be made and conclusions reached with all the facts. We on council have to remember that it will be the people of Nelson that give us our mandate and we represent the taxpayers of the city.