COLUMN: With understanding comes progress

With fall comes a burst of activity as everyone gets back into routine and that is what your city council is doing as well.

Summer’s end has arrived, but oh what a magnificent fall we are enjoying. I admit to being smug when I read weather reports of snow in other parts of the country. I am more than ready to wait for ski season to begin.

With fall comes a burst of activity as everyone gets back into routine and that is what your city council is doing as well.

September 16, 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Columbia River Treaty. While there were significant benefits to both the US and Canada, there were also substantial sacrifices made by residents during the creation of the dams and reservoirs.

These impacts continue in communities to this day. The Local Governments Committee is encouraging people to take a few minutes to reflect on this historic date.

As well, the Local Governments Committee is continuing to work with the province to address outstanding domestic issues resulting from the treaty. The inaugural meeting of the Columbia Basin Regional advisory committee was held last week in Nelson. This committee will work with the province and BC Hydro to enhance communications on dam operations.

This is significant because this cross-sectoral group from across the basin is the first of its kind in BC. When there is a broader understanding of issues from both sides, progress is possible. We have high hopes for this group and appreciate their willingness to volunteer their time.

I’ve chaired the Local Governments Committee since its inception almost three years ago. This work has been some of the most rewarding I’ve done in my tenure as a city councillor.

It is rare that a local politician has the opportunity to be a part of issues that have provincial and national significance and I’m grateful to have been in the right place at the right time.

This summer the committee was recognized for its work by being nominated for the Premier’s award for collaboration.

Although we didn’t win first place, it was an honour to be recognized.

All nominees will be invited to an event later this fall and I’m looking forward to meeting the others.

Our ongoing conversations with Alp-S, the climate change institute in Austria, have resulted in plans to visit the institute in Innsbruck. Alp-S will subsidize travel for a small group to come and learn more about alternative energy systems and other ways to mitigate and adapt to our changing climate.

Both groups are very interested in partnering on a project in future and this opportunity for staff to meet and learn is an exciting first step. Nelson Hydro will play an important role in identifying projects that will be considered. I’m looking very forward to this trip and will keep you informed about its outcome. It so happens that the mayor will be in Europe this month and plans to make a side trip to the institute himself.

The Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership (NAEDP) met last week to chart its course for the next couple of years. If you read my last article on broadband you’ll recall that I recommended that Nelson become a part of the Intelligent Communities Forum to connect us with others who are making the most of technology.

The NAEDP will be pursuing this partnership. As well, there is a commitment to updating the business retention and expansion data to bring it in line with recent surveys done in surrounding communities.

And, the NAEDP will be taking the next steps on implementing some of the ideas presented in the Roger Brooks webinars in creating and sustaining successful downtowns.

This fall will be particularly busy with civic elections. I will be making an announcement soon regarding my plans and I am encouraging people to run and be a part of the work we do in the community. If you or someone you know is thinking about it, do it.

 

— Deb Kozak is a councillor for the City of Nelson. She shares this space with her fellow council members.

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