COLUMN: New council has much to do, learn

Council has had a number of meetings together this year including detailed budget discussion.

Beginning the forth term as city councillor and with almost a new council and mayor, we have just started to scratch the surface of the city’s objectives and plans.

The Regulation and Animal Control bylaw returned to the council table on to the February 3 agenda.

Council has had a number of meetings together this year including detailed budget discussion. There are still a number of issues from the previous council that need to be reviewed.

There is also a couple of city developments to continue with, such as Nelson Commons, and the proposed development on the north waterfront called Nelson Landing. Some of these developments still have a few issues that need to be resolved.

There is also the possibility of more developments such as the commercial medical clinic near Kootenay Lake Hospital and a possible revival of Kootenay Landing near the Prestige Inn.

As well there is the continuation of the Downtown/Waterfront plan with the proposed redesign for Hall and Vernon Streets.

Hall and Vernon Street plans, as presented, are a controversial design plan with a lot of questions from the business owners and the public alike.

The council, after the budget discussions, will have priority sessions as to review action plans and bylaws as to how they are prioritized.

In no particular order of importance, there is the subject of a Baker Street revitalization plan including recycling bins and a possible bylaw to deal with the increase of sandwich board signs, mainly along Baker Street.

Of course the Regulation and Animal Control bylaw has come up for revision. Although only approximately 50 per cent of the citizens were in favour of the return of dogs to the downtown core, the change to allow dogs in the downtown was passed at Monday’s council meeting.

It is interesting that it was the local businesses 26 years ago that wanted dogs banned for the downtown core. Now evidently the downtown businesses are in favour of dogs returning to the downtown zone, hoping for more tourists shopping.

Although a number of local people have stated, with the return of dogs, they may shop elsewhere. People say things have changed over the years, so with owners and their dogs returning to the downtown core, hopefully it will bring successful results for people and businesses as well.

Council will be attending the Local Government Leadership Academy Elected Officials Seminar in Kimberley from February 18 to 20.

This session will provide the opportunity to gain valuable context for current actions to save energy, emissions and money in municipal operations and across the community as well as explore what is and is not working in the context of small communities.

This will be an opportunity for a refresher seminar for senior Council members and a learning experience for new councillors and mayors.

As well in April, all local elected officials will attend the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments conference in Nakusp.

This will be an opportunity to meet and greet, as well as, a discussion of resolutions to be passed on to the Union of BC Municipalities Convention in September while looking forward to the next four years of civic governance.

To say the least it will be a busy time to come up to speed with the new council and mayor and with the continuation of current plans and moving forward to future plans and objectives over four years.

 

— Robin Cherbo is a councillor for the city of Nelson. He shares this space with the rest of council.

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