I was first elected to city council in 2005 and have served two terms. During this time I’ve worked at municipal and regional levels with projects and issues including, culture, economic development, sport and recreation, regional government, and housing.
I’ve been a part of establishing the Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership, the Cultural Development Commission and most recently the basin-wide community education events regarding the Columbia River Treaty. The time has literally flown by and there is still much to be done. The work is varied, interesting and exciting. This is why I am seeking a third term on council.
One of the goals from my first election campaign was to improve regional co-operation. In the last six years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with regional directors who have the same aspiration. Together, we have established a regional recreation commission of elected representatives and the Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership. Both entities are providing benefits to the larger region resulting in cost savings and greater benefit to all. As chair of the Recreation Commission, I was proud that this group approved the future site of the long-awaited skatepark. There are more opportunities for co-operation in the areas of land planning and shared services. I believe the experience I’ve gained in previous ventures will be an asset in moving forward.
This council has worked hard to lay the foundation for major planning pieces in sustainability. I want to be a part of moving these plans to action.
TOP THREE ISSUES
#1. Building relationships and strengthening co-operation with our regional neighbours has been a continuing theme in my work as a councillor. We are all interconnected in work, play, and day to day activities with the larger region. We know that the decisions that one entity makes impact the other. In the past six years the region has successfully co-operated on selecting a skatepark site, moving the transfer station and sharing in economic development. I currently chair the Recreation Commission, liaise with the Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership and I also serve on the executive of the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments. At the broader regional level, we have come together to develop a rural strategy for economic development and to educate communities about the Columbia River Treaty. There are more opportunities for collaboration in sustainability issues and land planning. People in this region understand that together we are stronger.
#2. There is a saying, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” In the past six years planning has become a hallmark of this council. The community now has long term planning is in place for our downtown and waterfront, greenhouse gas reduction, and sustainability in the areas of environment, economic development and social planning.
Early in the new year, the Recreation Commission will begin a master planning process that will inform the region about what facilities and programs our larger community needs and wants. Good planning results in good decisions by your leaders for the long term and moving from planning into action is the next step. Council is poised to move into action and I’d like to be a part of that future work.
#3. Open government and the better communication with citizens are issues that this council has grappled with, made progress on and we continue to evolve. Encouraging and facilitating community participation in decision making is part of a healthy democratic process and I believe we’ve come a long way in understanding and implementing ways to do a better job. Our committee of the whole meetings have become a vital way for us to hear from community and hear we have everything from conversations on allowing chickens and bees, to changes in transit service and housing issues. These meetings have truly influenced council policy and planning. The improved city website has become an important tool for citizens and the decision to hire a communications consultant has been invaluable in assisting to get the word out. There is always room for improvement, and I think one way is to better define the portfolio system we’ve implemented for councillors.