Nelson city council gave support to a four-year poverty reduction plan, but didn’t commit resources to it. Photo: File photo

Nelson city council gave support to a four-year poverty reduction plan, but didn’t commit resources to it. Photo: File photo

Four-year strategy for poverty reduction receives nod from Nelson council

But council didn’t commit to adopting Together Nelson’s plan

by Timothy Schafer

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Nelson Daily

A four-year action strategy to reduce poverty in Nelson and the surrounding area will be supported by the city — to a degree.

Acting on a staff recommendation and citing growing demands on staff time, city council gave its stamp to Together Nelson — as presented by Nelson at its Best — to participate as a member of the Community Action Network subject to the availability of staff resources as determined following the presentation of the Development Services 2022 Workplan later this month.

A city staff report noted that the strategy “identifies collective impact and economic inclusion as key factors in reducing poverty, and provides priority considerations and actions to achieve change.”

In November, Nelson at its Best presented to council regarding Together Nelson, a community action strategy seeking to reduce poverty in Nelson and surrounding area.

At that time, three requests were made by Nelson at its Best that required council support, including: endorsing Together Nelson and promote the strategy as a community priority; including the city in the Community Partner Network; and sponsor the group’s next UBCM funding application.

The request wasn’t unfounded. Since Nelson at its Best was formed the city has been involved, sponsoring the funding application to the UBCM in January, 2020.

The staff report advised that the city could support the plan and seek to assist in implementing the plan’s strategy “where possible and consistent with other city planning documents.

“This does not, however, mean that the city is adopting Together Nelson as its own plan, nor will the city necessarily seek to carry out each and every objective or recommendation in the plan,” the staff report read. “In other words, the plan was prepared for Nelson at its Best and it will be this organization’s work to carry out the plan, but the city is well positioned to assist where there are synergies.”

Although the city was on board at Nelson at its Best inception and throughout the process, it was not wholly committed to providing staff resources until it had its own house in order.

For the city to become part of the Community Partner Network — a group of 30-to-40 community leaders working together to help advance the plan’s strategy — it could choose to designate a staff member to participate in the meetings and report back to council when appropriate.

“Notably, the city did participate in the creation of the plan by having a Development Services staff participate in the leadership roundtable,” the city staff report stated. “Accordingly, it would likely make sense to continue having the city involved through the Community Partner Network.”

The city’s Development Services Department was scheduled this week to present its next work plan to council and would detail its objectives — and time constraints — for the next year.

“As council knows, this department has a significant workload. Accordingly, staff are recommending that a commitment to participate in the Community Partner Network be made only subject to the availability of staff resources,” the report advised, with availability to be determined following presentation of the department’s work plan.

The third request was not an unusual occurrence, since city staff typically bring such requests for sponsorship to council when the “funding streams” have been released and an application is presented for review.

“Council support is required or the city is a partnering organization,” the report noted.