It has been my observation that both staff and your elected representatives are steadily working towards a goal of achieving better results using fewer resources in more lasting ways.
I think it is also important to take stock of just how well we are doing. Some of the issues we have been dealing with include:
• This fall your council has passed a resolution that the City of Nelson participate in the West Kootenay Inter-Community Business Licence Initiative to streamline and simplify the business licensing process.
• We have created a bylaw to govern a housing agreement that will ensure three housing units at the Nelson Commons remain restricted to 25% below market value when resold, providing a housing opportunity for a lower income individuals or families to enter the housing market.
• We grappled with the issue of cannabis operations and rejected the recommendation to prohibit them in all land use zones throughout the city. Clearly there are many factors to be considered and understood before we arrive at a solution that ensures a balance of measured restrictions and access.
• We have reviewed the design of phase two of the Hall Street Project that will address heavy rainfall events and improve our storm water management capabilities while providing pedestrian and bicycle friendly routes to a redesigned multi -purpose waterfront park area with plenty of vehicle parking.
• The Nelson Street Culture Collaborative has raised the funds to begin a street outreach program. Staff have been hired and are on the street meeting people and talking with businesses owners to determine how they can make the best collective impact.
• On the housing front, great news from BC Housing. Nelson CARES Lakeside Redevelopment project has been selected to receive funding to develop a four story building comprised of 48 affordable rental units. This will contribute to the much needed new rental stock in our community.
• There was also good news from Interior Health who announced funding for eight support recovery beds in Nelson to serve the Kootenay Boundary area. These are the first of their kind in Nelson and will provide clients a safe substance- free setting with supports to facilitate transition to more a more stable lifestyle.
• We are considering recommendations on how to reduce the risk of wildfire impacting Nelson and the benefits of a collaborative effort with the RDCK, BC Parks, utilities and others to reduce the risk of wildfire in a meaningful way.
• We have agreed to enter into a partnership with the Columbia Basin Trust to develop a Community Youth Network for youth aged 12-18 in order to provide increase activities, diverse opportunities and engagement in skill building and community development.
Thinking outside the box is more than just a cliché.
It means taking a step back from the problem and taking a broader view and actually being open to another way of seeing things.
As a municipal decision maker this is what I must do every time I am asked to review a bylaw, consider expenditures or contemplate a course of action.
Albert Einstein is a great source of inspiration his often repeated quote “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them” is a wonderful reminder for us to take the time to see the bigger picture and focus on the underlying problems rather than addressing the symptoms.
Often quick fixes produce unintended negative consequences.
Nelson is an ever better place to live, work and play when we make it important to take the time to consult and collaborate.
What a dreary place the world would be if we all thought the same thoughts!
Wishing you and your families all the best this winter. Drive safe!