With municipal elections just over two months away, some Nelson city councillors are still on the fence about whether they will run for re-election in November.
Councillors Margaret Stacey, Bob Adams and Robin Cherbo say they are throwing their names back in the ring for council again, but are not planning on running for mayor.
“There are a lot of important election issues. I’m hoping that transit won’t be the major one but I’m sure it will be,” says Stacey.
She questioned whether another council would have acted differently with the transit issue.
Stacey hopes that the Downtown and Waterfront Sustainability Plan will become an election issue.
“It’s just really visionary and it’s something I’m really passionate about, not even from a political perspective,” she says.
Longtime city councillor Donna Macdonald is still unsure whether she’ll add her name to the ballot.
“I’m thinking about it a lot. I don’t know when I’m going to decide,” she says.
All the councillors agreed that new faces would be welcome in this year’s election.
“Usually there have been a lot more faces when there has been a controversial issue, so are there any issues that might spark some controversy?” says Macdonald. “Maybe. Maybe the transit issue might bring someone to the floor. I haven’t heard a lot of interest, but we’re reaching the end of summer and people will be thinking about it more seriously now.”
Macdonald says even though it’s good to have continuity in council, it’s “advantageous to have some fresh people with new ideas and new issues and new energy.”
Mayor John Dooley has not yet decided whether he will be looking for the three-peat in November.
“I haven’t made any decisions. It’s a little early in the day for that yet,” says Dooley.
But like Macdonald, Dooley hopes to see new names on the election ballot.
“It’s always been my experience in Nelson that there is no shortage of people who will put their name up for municipal government, so I wouldn’t expect this election to be any different,” he says.
Dooley expects some issues raised at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities meeting at the end of October will encourage people to join the election race.
“Most people that run for local government feel that they want to make a difference and contribute to the community, so you never know what drives people to run for local government,” says Dooley. “It’s different in the bigger city centres where there is a lot of party politics. We don’t have that here. People generally seem to put their names forward because they want to do good things for the community.”
Councillor Deb Kozak, who has yet to decide whether she’s running, also welcomes new people to join the election race.
“It’s always good to have new faces pop up and to have people that represent our community in so many different ways,” she says. “We have a diverse community, so it’s always good to see new faces and have different people to work with. I’m looking forward to seeing that and I’m looking forward to seeing who comes out of the woodwork.”
Kozak said the community will be looking to council for leadership around transit issues, changes in the business community and the revitalization of the downtown and waterfront areas.
“The community is really going to be looking at what developments are taking place on the waterfront,” says Kozak. “There are a couple of really positive things in terms of the movement of the transfer station which is going to be a big boon, and I think people have really been interested in what’s going to happen with the revitalization of downtown [and] waterfront.”
Councillors Kozak and Kim Charlesworth both say they are considering the mayor’s position.
When the Star asked Charlesworth about the possibility of running for mayor she said, “All things are possible.”
Like the other councillors, she says it would be good to have some new people on council.
“I do hope there are new folks who are interested in stepping up for their community because having the same folks around the table term after term, I don’t think is healthy,” says Charlesworth, who was the only new face added to the council table three years ago.
Municipal elections will be Saturday, November 19.
In Nelson, there is one position for mayor, six positions for councillor and two positions for school trustee available.
People interested in running should contact chief election officer Janet Postlethwaite at 250-505-0468 or deputy chief election officer Frances Long at 250-352-8254.