Nelson’s 2020 Cultural Ambassador Marilyn Hatfield and Sports Ambassador Matti Erickson. See more photos below. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Matti Erickson is Nelson’s first annual Sports Ambassador

Marilyn Hatfield is the 2020 Cultural Ambassador. Heritage and sustainability awards also presented.

Nelson’s first Sports Ambassador is an L.V. Rogers track athlete who has dominated the field provincially in the 1,500- and 800-metre junior boys races for several years.

Matti Erickson is the provincial high school record-holder in the 1,500 metre junior race, which he has won for the past three years.

“This year Matti captured success at the national level in track and field,” said presenter Mayor John Dooley at a city awards ceremony on Monday evening, “after winning a gold medal at the Canadian Legion youth track and field championships in Sydney, Nova Scotia.”

The city’s annual sports ambassador award, created this year, will go to athletes who have achieved a high standard not just in Nelson but around the country.

This year’s Heritage Award was given to builder and designer Joern Wingender.

The award is given every year for leadership in heritage restoration, renewal and promotion.

Wingender has been the contractor and heritage conservation leader behind the ongoing revitalization of Nelson’s CP Rail station.

“He is an expert in both building conservation and green building,” said presenter Stephanie Fischer. “He combines both traditional and progressive methods in his work. In addition to his ongoing work preserving and restoring our region’s heritage, Joern and his company, Traditional Timber Framing, have designed and built many new homes utilizing a unique ecosystem-based architecture. His outstanding craftsmanship and invaluable knowledge he has imparted to our region’s planners contractors and builders has left a lasting legacy for generations to come.”

Accepting the award, Wingender said “What you didn’t know, by extension, is that you awarded this to all the heritage buildings, because we as conservators are just the voice for the building. That is all we do, and it is interesting stories that we hear in the crawlspaces and the attics, and all we do is bring it to everybody else … so consider every building in town having received this award.”

The Cultural Ambassador for 2020 is musician, dancer, choreographer, dance instructor, drum instructor and event presenter Marilyn Hatfield. She takes over from Allison Girvan, the 2019 ambassador.

The ambassadorship is intended for artists who are active and excellent in Nelson but whose work also takes them elsewhere.

Hatfield has been performing in and around Nelson since 2010 and is the leader of the RhythmDance Drum Orchestra, the co-leader of the Moving Mosaic Samba Band, and the drummer and vocalist in the band Soundserious.

“Next summer she will be presenting the third annual Summer Breeze Music and Art Party,” said presenter Sydney Black, “a free family-oriented event showcasing a variety of visual and performing artists from around the Columbia Basin, and hosting the second annual Global Rhythms Dance Showcase in Nelson, which will feature a wide variety of world styles of dance. Marilyn is a huge contributor to Nelson’s cultural fabric, we are proud of having her join the roster of incredible cultural ambassadors we have had over the years.”

The city’s Sustainability Leadership Award winners this year were Kootenay Co-op Radio, the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce, and Kootenay Carshare.

Council members decide as a group on the sustainability award recipients, based on the city’s five stated principles of sustainability: cultural strength, healthy neighbourhoods, robust ecosystems, prosperity and resiliency.

Those principles underlie the city’s Path to 2040 Principles for Sustainability Strategy on which the awards are based.

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Mayor John Dooley presents the Sports Ambassador award to Matti Erickson. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Joern Wingender (right) accepts this year’s Heritage Award from Mayor John Dooley and Stephanie Fischer of the city’s Heritage Working Group. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

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