Nelson council thanks Jim Sawada for creating ‘a jewel in our city’

Jim Sawada created, and still maintains, the Shuzenji Friendship Garden.

  • Jan. 21, 2016 11:00 a.m.

Mayor Deb Kozak presented a sustainability award to Jim Sawada this week.

Nelson Mayor Deb Kozak presented Jim Sawada with a special sustainability award at Monday’s city council meeting.

Sawada created the Shuzenji Friendship Gardens in Cottonwood Falls Park in 1995, after Nelson’s sister city of Shuzenji, Japan, provided two monuments suitable for a Japanese garden. He has developed and maintained the garden ever since.

“Jim was really the driver behind the gardens and behind the vision for the gardens,” Kozak said. “He was a contractor, and he devoted many hours of his personal time to the gardens. The volunteers who know Jim and work with him said it would not have existed without his unwavering commitment to it.”

Sawada worked with a Vancouver designer who helped design the concept and put it into reality.

“[Sawada] has dealt with the community very graciously over the years,” Kozak said. “He was also instrumental in building the bridge to the Rod and Gun Club.”

The certificate reads: “For Jim Sawada, for outstanding leadership in the creation of the Shuzenji Friendship Garden. Your vision and dedication have created a jewel in our city.”

Karen MacDonald, who heads Nelson public works, also spoke.

“I was a gardener for the city when Hiro [the Vancouver designer] and Jim put the gardens together,” she said. “This community is really lucky to have someone who works so tirelessly. He has spent hours down there by himself. He is such a gentleman. He always arranges everything beautifully, always got the work done that needed to be done. I am so happy to work with Jim.”

When Kozak presented Sawada with a cheque for $1,150 as part of the award, Sawada said “I’m going to use the money for the garden.”

Councillor Bob Adams, pictured here with Jim Sawada and Deb Kozak, worked closely with Sawada when Adams headed the city’s public works department.

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