I read with interest the top three issues spelled out by the eight candidates running for Nelson city council in the upcoming municipal election. While they all have issues which warrant merit, not a single one of the candidates mentioned local business. Now, this is not at all surprising to those of us who run local businesses and/or own commercial property in Nelson. We are a perpetual afterthought so distant that we don’t even register on the radar screen at City Hall.
For the record, local businesses employ your sons and daughters and provide them with training and support during their first real jobs. We sponsor every youth and adult sports team in town. Each and every charity and community group which walk through our doors come away with gift certificates, swag or cash donations. Who steps up whenever a fundraiser needs support? Local business, that’s who. And what support do we get from City Hall? We get to pay disproportionately high property taxes and hydro rates. And the water and sewer rates charged to the business sector border on highway robbery. Why, you ask? It’s simple. Local business doesn’t have any representation at City Hall.
So, here we are heading into another election and not a single candidate deems it worthy to consider the needs of local business. Local business is so far down the list of importance for these candidates that beautiful covered walkways and community composting are priorities where local business doesn’t even warrant a mention.
Who do these candidates think is going to pay for their grandiose plans? Local business, of course. I trust the current crop of candidates don’t consider local business to be a bottomless pit of cash to be endlessly mined, because if so, they are sadly mistaken. If you continue to bleed dry the business sector, then those Occupy Nelson folks in front of City Hall better move over because they are going to have lots of company from local business owners and their employees.
These are challenging economic times. Nelson needs a local government which will foster economic development in all sectors of the economy including community and social issues, real estate, arts and culture, sports, and business. Which candidate(s) will step up and champion local business for the benefit of the entire Nelson community now and in the future?