COLUMN: Funding by speed dating

Councillor Janice Morrison on grant funding, Nelson Landing, Nelson Commons, and the Ancron medical clinic.

by Janice Morrison

Speed dating: An organized social event in which participants have one-to-one conversations typically limited to less than ten minutes for the purpose of meeting people. It’s been around since 1998, but the premise is now used in other settings besides finding your next life mate — think Dragon’s Den: inventors do a quick pitch to find a willing investor.

So you might be asking what does speed dating or Dragon’s Den have to do with city council? Well, this past week council held a special meeting to review the applications for the Columbia Basin Trust 2015 Community Initiatives Program funding. Council’s role is to hear all the community group presentations, adjudicate the proposals and make final recommendations. This year 47 projects where submitted. So how do we ensure the playing field is level for all the applicants? Speed dating.

Each applicant was given five minutes, two to three to explain who they are and what the intended use of the money would be, and how the use aligns with the City of Nelson Path to 2040 Sustainability strategy. The last two minutes allowed council to ask questions.

Councillors then had two days to consider all the applications and fill in a matrix indicating if they could support the project and the level of funding they wanted to award. The City of Nelson was allocated $126,447 in Community Initiatives Program funds. The total amount of requests was $247,545.23. All applicants had worthy projects, but there will be some who unfortunately will be disappointed.

The final recommendations were to be announced at Monday’s council meeting and will be known by the time this column is published.

Apart from speed dating, local developments have also been at the forefront of city council’s awareness. We have had requests for some additional variances for the Nelson Commons development that is already underway in the heart of our vibrant downtown.

Council has also debated the first readings of Nelson Landing’s requests for amendments to the official community plan and zoning bylaw. This is a residential development that will be situated at the waterfront on the old Kootenay Forest Products site. It will be exciting to see these lands finally developed after laying fallow for more than 30 years. Work has started on phase one of this development.

Ancron Medical Centre was also at city hall last week allowing those of us who are newly elected to review this application with the proponent in advance of the May 11 public hearing.

Next week council is off to Nakusp to participate in the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Government meeting. This year’s theme is Change>Challenge>Collaborate. It will be a great three days of networking, idea exchange, debate and strengthening our resolve to make not only Nelson, but the region, a better place to live.

As always, I am interested in hearing from you — your thoughts, ideas and concerns. The best way to contact me is jmorrison@nelson.ca.

 

Nelson city councillor Janice Morrison shares this space weekly with her council colleagues.

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