Nelson City Council candidates, L-R: Jesse Pineiro, Ainsleah Hastings, Jesse Woodward, Brenton Raby, Kyle Wilkinson, Rik Logtenberg. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson City Council candidates, L-R: Jesse Pineiro, Ainsleah Hastings, Jesse Woodward, Brenton Raby, Kyle Wilkinson, Rik Logtenberg. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Meet the Nelson City Council candidates: Part 1

Our interviews with Nelson six of the 10 council candidates

There are 10 candidates running for six city council seats ahead of the Oct. 15 municipal elections. In part 1, we speak with Jesse Woodward, Jesse Pineiro, Ainsleah Hastings, Brenton Raby, Kyle Wilkinson and Rik Logtenberg.

Part two will feature interviews with Kate Tait, Keith Page, Glenn Sutherland and Leslie Payne.

Jesse Woodward is running for his second term on council.

He says he is proud of promoting and supporting a number of initiatives in the past four years: the Nelson Next climate plan, the e-bike financing program, the bike route, the emergency operations centre, and the city’s COVID-19 financial plan.

One of his priorities for the next council, Woodward says, is something that would never have occurred to him when he ran four years ago: keeping the city’s capital reserves healthy. These are funds put aside annually for unexpected future needs such as infrastructure construction and repair.

He says he also wants to continue the work of getting Nelson ready for more severe weather.

“We need to get away from lurching from one sort of weather crisis to another and actually have a holistic response and make sure we have the budget to handle those,” he says.

On affordable housing, Woodward says council “needs to continue to try to any avenue that we can — infill and densification, and continuing building a partnership with BC Housing.”

Woodward says he wants to continue in the direction of getting non-profit organizations, the social service sector, and the city all in alignment to respond well to homelessness and food insecurity. He cited the Coordinated Access Hub as an example.

Woodward says he is running because, “I really enjoy the job. I find it’s the most direct and concrete way that I can help my community.”

He worked for seven years co-ordinating Nelson’s markets before being elected in 2018, and now works as the co-ordinator of the food bank at the Nelson Community Food Centre.

Raised in Winlaw, Woodward has lived in the area since 1999, and now resides on the North Shore.

Jesse Woodward. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Jesse Woodward. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Jesse Pineiro thinks the city should give homeowners a break on their property taxes, or on their sewer and water fees, if they rent out their property long-term rather than turning it into an Airbnb.

He says the city spends a lot of energy making Nelson a nice place to visit.

But if the cost and the shortage of housing in Nelson continues, he says, “It’s not a community any more, it’s a giant hotel … like Whistler.”

Pineiro has lived in Nelson since 1995 and graduated from L.V. Rogers Secondary. He’s the owner of the Nelson Boxing Gym and in 2021 was named the city’s sports ambassador.

He says housing is linked inextricably with other issues such as employment, mental health, and policing.

“Ninely-nine per cent of people on the street are not doing anything wrong except being poor. And the hysteria around it is damaging to everybody. It’s not illegal to be poor in public. But it’s illegal to shit on the street, sell drugs, and be aggressive with people.”

So Pineiro thinks Nelson needs additional beat officers, or safety officers who work for the police, with mental health training.

Pineiro also likes the city’s Nelson Next climate plan.

“But I think we need to be careful that the solutions that we put forward, because global warming affects everybody whether or not you have the money for solar panels or an electric bike. Are the solutions that we put forward accessible to people?”

Pineiro emphasized that he is a newcomer to politics, he does not have all the answers, and he likes incremental solutions.

“I want to be realistic about what we can accomplish, but I also want to be positive.”

He says he has been to three council meetings.

Jesse Pineiro. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Jesse Pineiro. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Ainsleah Hastings says she represents a demographic that does not normally sit at municipal council tables.

“I’m a young woman of the renter class,” she says. “I’m of a generation that is very rarely heard, and that is also going to be most affected by climate change, housing insecurity, and food insecurity.”

She has experienced housing insecurity, she says, living as she does on the North Shore after two years of trying to get housing in the city.

Hastings, 39, grew up in Nelson and attended high school here, then lived in Vancouver for 15 years. She now works at the office manager at Big Cranium Design.

She says she likes the city’s partnership with BC Housing that has produced three buildings of affordable housing, and would work for more. She says she endorses fellow candidate Jesse Pineiro’s idea about giving homeowners a break on fees and taxes if they rent their spaces long term rather than turning them into Airbnbs.

Hastings says many ski and resort towns offer short-term housing in the form of hostels or month-to-month single-room apartment rentals, and Nelson should consider this.

She says that as a singer, musician and writer, she would be supportive of the arts.

For greater food security, she would like to see rooftop gardens throughout the downtown.

Mental health services are a provincial responsibility, she says, but Nelson needs more, “and it’s part of the responsibility of councillors to put pressure on the province for these things.”

Nelson needs more and better public transit, she says. Realizing that that responsibility is shared between the city, the province, and the RDCK, she would push for improvements.

Hastings says she has been to, or viewed online, “a handful” of city council meetings.

Ainsleah Hastings. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Ainsleah Hastings. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Brenton Raby says he follows urban development and planning issues closely in Nelson and is familiar with the processes and requirements. His time served on the city’s Advisory Planning Commission and on the Board of Variance would add depth to council’s development discussions, he says.

He also says he has the capacity to work with large capital projects such as the sewage treatment plant, the proposed new library building, and planned backup battery storage for Nelson Hydro.

Raby works for the Regional District of Central Kootenay as a contracted maintenance worker for parks and trails. He owns a downtown building in which he recently opened a cafe that is also an ice cream manufacturer and retailer. He hopes to turn that space into a cannabis consumption cafe when permitted by provincial regulations.

The city needs to improve its clean-up of drug paraphernalia from parks and public spaces, and should hire more people to do this, he says.

“Many people in the community are being left to fend for themselves — we’re left to clean up the messes, we’re left to confront people or to talk to people about their use that’s happening perhaps in an inappropriate way.”

The city should work with Interior Health, he says, to create a safe drug use site that is “not limited by the building’s location or the hours of operation,” and “not for injection only but for inhalation.”

He wants Nelson to sign on to WildSafe BC’s BearSafe program, which has a five-step process for community bear safety.

Nelson Hydro should have a board of directors, Raby says, given its importance to the city budget.

He says he has attended all council meetings in the past four years.

Brenton Raby. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Brenton Raby. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Kyle Wilkinson says he is running for council because, “I’ve always had a passion to be part of our city in a larger scale, in a way that would allow me to bring my strengths to the table to align individuals and support this town and how it can flourish.”

Asked if he has specific issues or initiatives he would bring forward or support as a councillor, he said he does not.

“I’m not a politician. I’m a family man. I’m a business person. I want to listen to our community. And I want to align the right individuals, and collaborate as a team, thinking about all perspectives.”

Wilkinson has worked as the store manager at the Kootenay Co-op for the past six months. Previously he worked as the assistant store manager at Save-On Foods in Nelson for nine years.

Asked what actions or decisions of the current council he supports, Wilkinson said he could not think of any.

He said he wants to see “more inclusive collaboration in council chambers and in council meetings, and really listening to our community.”

He said he doesn’t know how well the current council has been listening to the community.

“For me, it’s not about is this working or is that not working. It’s about everything has an evolutionary process.”

Wilkinson said he has never been to a council meeting.

Kyle Wilkinson. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Kyle Wilkinson. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Rik Logtenberg is running for his second term on council because he has unfinished business there, he says.

Foremost in his mind is incorporating Nelson Next, the city’s climate plan into the Official Community Plan.

“That will really will force us to think about how we prepare this city for the next decade,” he says.

Logtenberg hopes to continue working with the Climate Caucus, a national organization of municipal leaders that he founded.

He says he was also instrumental in creating the e-bike financing program and the city’s Active Transportation Plan, and he wants to move those further.

Logtenberg wants to promote energy efficiency and waste reduction and says individuals benefit from being given more feedback on their habits. Smart meters, now contemplated by Nelson Hydro, would do this for energy consumption, he says. Kitchen countertop dehydrators for organic waste that will be piloted in Rosemont starting this fall, in a program he took part in creating, will give residents feedback on their waste habits.

Logtenberg represents the city on the West Kootenay Transit Commission and he says he’s proud of the plans for the transit exchange on Victoria Street as well as the transit app for tracking the buses.

“I’m really excited and pushing hard for a daily commuter service to Salmo and back, which the transit exchange is necessary to facilitate.”

Better transit, along with new bike routes and improved walking routes, will improve the parking situation downtown, he says, and he wants to address all of these issues at once.

Three things he says he is proud to have taken part in include the creation of the city’s emergency management office, the new water line from Selous Creek, and the city’s role in the wildfire mitigation work in the Selous Creek area.

Rik Logtenberg. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Rik Logtenberg. Photo: Bill Metcalfe


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Election 2022