Justin Pelant is the eighth new candidate for Nelson city council

Nelson business owner announces as eighth new council candidate

City of Nelson: Justin Pelant plans to advocate for fiscally responsible development, technological upgrades.

Nelson business owner Justin Pelant announced on Tuesday that he will be the eighth new candidate for Nelson city council in the upcoming municipal election. The 44-year-old plans to advocate for fiscally responsible development and investments in technological infrastructure.

“I am a fiscally responsible individual. I believe the job of council is to manage taxpayer’s money in a fiscally responsible manner,” said Pelant, who moved back to Nelson in 2007 to raise his family when he purchased Ted Allen’s Jewellery. Having grown up in the area and graduated from L.V. Rogers in 1988, he had planned all along to end up back in the Kootenays.

“I think Nelson is a brilliant place to raise kids and have a family,” said Pelant, who has a five-year-old son with his wife. Pelant is currently the president of the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce and sits on the Nelson and area economic development board.

Pelant advocated strongly for the construction of large-scale broadband infrastructure, and believes Nelson should continue to be proactive about pursuing technological upgrades. He believes that Nelson could receive an “Intelligent Community” designation like Toronto, which will encourage economic growth and open up new job opportunities in the region.

“Broadband was the first step towards that. In the next four years we could take great leaps and bounds. We may not there there in four years, but we can certainly get closer,” he said.

Ultimately, Pelant believes having videoconferencing, broadband and other technological edges will mean that businesses could relocate without any hassle.

“We don’t have a big Cominco or a saw mill here. We don’t have a big tax generator in the city. We’ve got 1300 business licenses, though. That’s a lot of ownership. What broadband does is if your business is based out of Seattle or Toronto or Vancouver, but you want to live here, you can relocate and function one hundred percent,” he said.

Pelant plans to advocate on behalf of Baker Street business, but he emphasized how intertwined everything it is with the arts and culture community.

“You have to make sure roads, infrastructure and corporate needs are met. But the other aspect regarding business is I also think the city needs to be working with the arts and culture society because that will help propagate business as well. The two work symbiotically. ArtWalk, for example, is excellent. And the sculptures on Baker Street, I was working on the board that approved the money for that.”

Recently, Pelant was pleased the city decided to delay work on the Stores to Shores project, as it was scheduled to occur in the middle of tourist season.

“We sat down with the city and said ‘you want to shut down one of the main arteries to downtown?’ and it works. The business community talking to the city in a responsible, respectful manner is productive.”

Pelant has ideas for development. He would like to see the old transfer station become an RV park, and to see the current one turned into multi-storey housing, perhaps for seniors or young professionals. He would love for the tram to continue from the Prestige up to the park, which would give tourists an easy walking route to the nearby restaurants, clubs and theatres.

“I know there’s a lot of different developments in progress or starting. I think development needs to be done in respect to the community it’s in. I don’t like the idea of blow and go building. I think it needs to be done respectfully, responsibly and environmentally,” he said.

“I think one of the biggest tragedies we ever did is put the mall down on lakefront property. It’s going to bother me until it’s moved.”

Which means the projects he will support must retain the essential culture of Nelson, which Pelant loves. He said recently a resident came in from the street to inquire about learning the silversmithing trade, and he was happy to help.

“I don’t want Nelson to be a suit and collar, everyone dressing the same town. I like the fact you have so many people going so many directions, but working in the same direction. The idiosyncrasies complement the business culture well, and we work hand-in-hand to create a really livable environment,” he said.

Pelant joins incumbent council members Robin Cherbo and Bob Adams, as well as new candidates Brian Shields, Valerie Warmington, Anna Purcell, Jason Peil, Charles Jeanes, Michael Dailly and John Paolozzi. Meanwhile, councillor Deb Kozak, Mayor John Dooley and retired cop Pat Severyn are in a three-way race for mayor.

Pelant joins incumbent council members Robin Cherbo and Bob Adams, as well as new candidates Brian Shields, Valerie Warmington, Anna Purcell, Jason Peil, Charles Jeanes, Michael Dailly and John Paolozzi. Meanwhile, councillor Deb Kozak, Mayor John Dooley and retired cop Pat Severyn are in a three-way race for mayor.

The election is on November 15.

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