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COLUMN: Doing the right thing, big or small

Mayor Deb Kozak on water restrictions, bear sculptures, and the bravery of the Nelson Police Department's Cst. David Laing.

I was travelling to a hospital board meeting last week and listening to the radio. Mayor Naheed Nenshi of Calgary was giving a lecture on “doing the right thing.” His basic philosophy is that each person in a community has something to offer and can make a difference.

It doesn’t matter whether it is big or small, each act of giving has a positive impact. I share this philosophy and I see it in action every day in our community. Mayor Nenshi went on to say that people don’t need to overthink what to do in a difficult situation, just “do the right thing.”

Let’s begin with a small thing. Recently the city went to Stage 4 water restrictions. I know that is hard to believe when we look out at the lake, but we do not pump our water from the lake. Our system is gravity fed. The intense summer and limited rainfall has resulted in less water flow from Five Mile Creek.

Each household was asked to comply and your response has been quick and positive. You are using less water. The long-term goal is to reduce indoor water consumption by 20 per cent and we are well on our way.

One small thing that you can do is modify your toilet tank to use less water. Many homes have older bathroom fixtures and the city has a free insert that is simple to install and very effective. You can pick one up at city hall or contact the water ambassador for your free insert. A small act by one person but mighty with many of us participating. Phone 250-352-8102 or email


Generosity is a usual occurrence in Nelson. Council returned from the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) conference to a wonderful sight.

Artist Stewart Steinhauer has loaned his Mother Bears sculpture to the community for a while. This sculpture outside city hall lifts my spirit every time I pass and has stimulated many conversations between residents. The bears also provide a place for people to sit and enjoy these long Fall days. Thanks Stewart for your creativity and generousity.


A woman stopped me last week and asked me to put out this small request to you. She’s concerned the Trash to Treasure day has gone to mostly trash year-round and doesn’t like how parts of our city look.

The practice of placing household items on the curb for people to pick up is an excellent way to reuse, but is a problem when items aren’t picked up and remain for days on the curbside. She’s asking that we all do the right thing and retrieve items at the end of the day to dispose of them properly. An easy thing to do and a simple act that respects the beautiful community we live in.


One of our police officers will be receiving a Police Honours Award from the province in November. This award is being presented to Det.-Cst. David Laing for his bravery in rescuing a woman from falling from the orange bridge.

During this selfless act, Cst. Laing sustained a serious injury. When I spoke with him, his concern and relief was for the woman he rescued and he was happy to report she was doing well. Thanks for doing the right thing, Cst. Laing. You put yourself at risk to assist another person and made a difference.


One of the ways your council does the right thing is by attending the annual UBCM conference.

This is our opportunity to represent you in meetings with provincial ministers, to liaise with other local government leaders and to participate in business and training sessions.

Our discussions with provincial ministers covered everything from local mental health initiatives, to community broadband services, business and tourism support and affordable housing.

In all, we had 15 meetings over the course of the week. Each time we engage in dialogue it creates understanding and generates the support needed to move initiatives forward, solve problems and build relationships.

We know that our community has the ability to do many things, but also understand the incredible power of having support from the orovince to build on our success. It is council’s goal to make our community a better place and to make a real difference. Thanks for supporting us to do the right thing too.


Nelson Mayor Deb Kozak shares this space weekly with her council colleagues.

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