Despite horrible spring weather

A bountiful summer in Nelson area

If it seems like our weather is getting weirder and weirder, it’s true.

Beans, basil and blueberries, zukes and cukes, arugula and sweet onions, even the occasional red tomato — such bounty, from my garden and others’. Despite my occasional laments about the work, growing food is a simple and rich pleasure.

In June, it seemed unlikely there’d be much pleasure this year. But despite the pounding rain on tender plants and the exuberance of weeds, the sunshine of July and August brought an abundance of food and flowers.

It’s been a tough spring and summer. Early on, we watched flooding, massive windstorms, hail and rain — all somewhere else. I could hardly believe our luck. Certainly we had record high water levels, and the damage done by that is still being revealed. But the big shocker was the Johnson’s Landing slide, which followed weeks of heavy rains.

If it seems like our weather is getting weirder and weirder, it’s true. And this is just the start of long-term climate change. At the City that means we need to think about storm and sanitary sewer capacity, road designs and drainage, culvert sizes, interface fire readiness, and potable water supplies. And, the unexpected events — the unknown unknowns.

Still, in the midst of the challenges, we’ve enjoyed some wonderful cultural events this summer, bringing people together and reminding us of the beauty in life.

Like ArtWalk. Born out of controversy in the downtown, ArtWalk is a smorgasbord of delight, and opening night is always a joyful reunion. Similarly, the Marketfests and Wednesday markets have brought life to the street. I know some people find the disruption annoying, but I think sharing the street is reasonable, on such a limited basis. These events bring pleasure, and income, to many people.

The Johnson’s Landing fundraiser was a modest success, with great talent stepping forward to help that community. There was heavy competition that day — it was a perfect beach day, and the venue (in front of City Hall) was not that comfortable or welcoming. I was reminded that our Downtown/Waterfront Master Plan suggests making the area more usable and pleasant as a civic space. Point taken!

Nelson’s first Elephant Mountain Literary Festival was in July, bringing well-known authors, publishers and agents from across Canada to share their knowledge and stories with local writers and book lovers. And I totally enjoyed The Pajama Game, the Capitol’s summer production. Wow — all that young talent, directed by two graduates of the Capitol. Brilliant.

Some of our public art projects have been completed, like the delightful railings on the bridge over Cottonwood Creek at the foot of Baker Street. Other projects were delayed by the weather and subsequent demands on City staff. But there’s more to come.

The public art is coordinated by the Cultural Development Commission (now Committee), which has recently been given a new mandate to include protection and promotion of heritage values. It’s an exciting challenge, a chance to renew the role of the CDC to ensure the cultural and heritage sectors thrive. New CDC’ers are needed; check out the City website.

I don’t have space to do a comprehensive cultural listing, or even begin to mention all the athletic events that happened as well. Thank you to all the volunteers who turn their personal passions into community events.

Looking forward, it will be a busy fall with plates full of meetings not zucchinis. The Union of BC Municipalities convention is the last week of September, and its theme is “In Conversation” — with community members, other levels of government, and other partners. And one could add with ourselves as councils.

One session of particular interest is a panel that will discuss aspects of marijuana regulation. You’ll remember this topic caused a blow-up at city council in June, and I hope my colleagues will attend the panel to hear from academics, public health experts, legal experts and law enforcement. I look forward to learning more.

In the meantime, back to my bounty of green beans, with pleasure.

 

Donna Macdonald is a Nelson city councillor who shares this space with her colleagues around the table.

 

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