This year’s municipal election race hasn’t had the controversy seen in past years, but two local political watchers are divided on what the outcome of Saturday’s election will be.
“I think that the councillor race is going to be a surprise,” said former Nelson mayor Bill Ramsden. “I think that there will be some people that get in that everybody would think that they wouldn’t. I wouldn’t go out on a limb that I would say that anyone is going to win it, period, this time.”
But 103.5 FM The Bridge news director Glenn Hicks doesn’t see much change happening around the council table.
“There’s going to be a slight change,” said Hicks. “Put it this way, I don’t think there will be a political revolution. I think most if not all the incumbents have a very good chance of remaining at the council table because there hasn’t been anything majorly polarizing or damaging for them.”
In a sense this year’s election has gone green with issues of sustainability at the forefront. Council hopefuls Candace Batycki and Paula Kiss have helped keep green issues in the campaign.
“Sustainability does seem to have taken a front seat here. I suspect more because council has just passed the Path to 2040 sustainability vision,” said Hicks.
“There’s no harm in elevating sustainability. I think it’s a just thing. I certainly detected from the audience at Tuesday night’s forum that small business and the sustainability of Nelson’s commercial base is sort of being overlooked and overshadowed because of this big push on sustainability.”
Ramsden said while issues of chickens and green building may be popular during the election, candidates need to get “back to basics.”
“Some of the issues are mom-and-pop issues and there’s long term planning issues that go into 2040,” said Ramsden. “I think the citizens of Nelson, young and old, believe in ‘take care of my streets, take care of my garbage and provide me police and fire protection.’”
Both Hicks and Ramsden said the mayoral race between John Dooley, Richard Rowberry and George Mercredi has not been inspiring.
“Perhaps it would have been nicer to see Richard Rowberry run as a genuine arts and culture candidate rather than as this spirit of John Houston and may have very well been more inspiring had Rowberry run as a full-on arts and culture mayoral candidate,” said Hicks.
In the regional district, Hicks and Ramsden said the results of the election could impact the future of co-operation between the city and rural areas.
“We’ve had some that were on the regional district that didn’t like what the city was doing and didn’t want the city involved with them and they block what should happen,” said Ramsden.
“Between the city and regional district there is co-operation that should happen and sometimes they can block that. I don’t see that in the present candidates. But we’ve had them in the past that didn’t want to agree to anything the city proposed to make things work better.”
Hicks said as things progress between the city and regional district, there is “bound to be more integration.”
“My sense is that the regional district cannot live in isolation from the city. There are issues such as transit and recreation and there needs to be stronger bonds there,” said Hicks.
Election day is Saturday. The polls at Central School at 811 Stanley Street will open at 8 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.
For details on registration, visit the City of Nelson website at nelson.ca or contact City Hall at 250-352-8233.