Candidates for the upcoming municipal election tackled issues of sustainability on Wednesday night at an all candidates forum.
The only candidate who did not attend was mayoral candidate George Mercredi.
The two-hour forum began with two minute introductions from all the candidates.
The time limit seemed to be a struggle for most as they rushed through their prepared speeches as quickly as possible.
Many of the incumbents addressed plans and policies that have already been introduced at council such as the Sustainable Downtown and Waterfront Master Plan and the Low Carbon Path to 2040.
Councillor Deb Kozak mentioned parks planning in her introduction which has become a theme since the recent upgrades to Lions Park emerged.
Chickens, transit and the streetcar were issues addressed by councillor Robin Cherbo.
Mayoral candidate Richard Rowberry, who originally decided to run in the election as theatrical tribute to John Houston (Nelson’s first mayor), said he’s now taking the election more seriously after members of the community approached him and said they would vote for him.
In the question periods candidates responded to questions around sustainable growth and development, transit, farmers markets and backyard chickens and bees.
Transit has become a controversial topic since council made changes to local service including the cancellation of Sunday buses.
Mayor John Dooley said the most effective way to improve transit is to have more frequent trips, which means route changes.
“I think transit means too many things to too many people,” said Dooley.
Even though which candidate answered each question was decided at random, Charles Jeanes, who has been campaigning by promoting no growth, ended up answering most of the questions related to development and growth.
“I don’t think any growth is sustainable,” said Jeanes in response to a question about the Downtown and Waterfront Master Plan. “Hell no, we won’t grow.”
Rowberry provided moments of comic relief throughout the forum.
He was selected to answer a question about addressing light pollution and waste.
“What’s wrong with being in the spotlight?” said Rowberry.
All the candidates were given the opportunity to answer a question about whether bees and chickens should be allowed in Nelson backyards.
The candidates voted with a show of hands.
The only ones who voted no to allowing them were Dooley, Rowberry, Bob Adams and Jeanes.
Adams said it wasn’t fair to answer the question in that way because he wants to see a report from staff first.
Candidates Dooley and Paula Kiss were given the opportunity to answer a question on how to encourage people to drive less.
Dooley told moderator Chris Shepherd of In the Koots that it wasn’t the greatest question in the world, and said that according to some studies people are actually driving more.
Kiss, who has attempted to lead by example by walking everywhere, said, “We need to make walking cool or riding the bus popular.”
She said it’s all about marketing.
The next all candidates forum will be next Tuesday at the Prestige Lakeside Resort.