Nelson itself stole the show last week when more than 100 municipal leaders from across Canada descended on the city for a Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) board meeting.
Held at the Prestige Lakeside Resort, the meeting spot was chosen at the prompting of Nelson Mayor John Dooley, who is a member of the FCM board.
Organizers of the event offered federation members — some of whom made the trek from municipalities in Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec — the opportunity to see some of Nelson’s heritage sites by hosting walking tours of the city. Other members were even fortunate enough to squeeze in a few rounds on the green at Granite Pointe Golf Course.
But to some, the most enjoyable part of Nelson was the people themselves.
“The people are a big part of the asset base here,” said Lunenburg, Nova Scotia Mayor Donald Downe, a first-time visitor. “You can sense that the values of the people here are not necessarily about money, it’s about a way of life and respecting nature.”
Over the three-day period starting last Wednesday, the board discussed municipal priorities including the development of a federal long-term infrastructure plan and the upcoming federal budget, which according to Brampton, Ontario mayor, Susan Fennell, are key components that impact municipalities across Canada.
“The municipalities are the ones who actually control the projects, we manage and tender the projects [economic action plan], but it’s with the confidence of the funding from the federal and provincial government,” she said
Though the final meeting of the board began on a sombre note as members took time to remember former official opposition leader and one-time FCM president Jack Layton, it ended with a light-hearted barbecue and an entertaining exhibition from the Nelsons’ Rhythm Ropers. The Ropers, who were on a two-week hiatus after a long and gruelling season gave the FCM board members a taste of just some of the talent Nelson’s youth had to offer.
An apparent success the FCM’s board meeting’s can be summed up through Mayor Downe’s heartfelt sentiment, “I’m really happy that I’ve been able to come here… it’s a phenomenal community, I’d love to come back and I’ll be bringing my wife with me.”