Continuing the conversation in Nelson

I’d like to continue that theme and share with you a few of the conversations I’ve been having in my recent travels.

In last week’s council column you heard about conversations. I’d like to continue that theme this week and share with you a few of the conversations I’ve been having here and there in my recent travels.

Last week I noticed my neighbour was having new windows installed and was curious. I strolled over and learned she had taken advantage of the City of Nelson EcoSave program. We talked about how the program of on-bill financing made it possible for her to do these important energy upgrades and she told me the work wouldn’t have been done without the program. At the same time I spoke with the tradesperson doing the installation. He explained that the EcoSave program has been instrumental in providing much needed employment for him. Learning this made me very happy.

If you haven’t applied for the program and are looking at renovations, you’ll be pleased to know that city council has increased the financing cap to $16,000. Information is available through the City’s website or through a quick phonecall to Nelson Hydro.

Community Futures hosted its provincial conference in Nelson recently. Dr. Stephen Murgatroyd spoke about the importance of involving youth in community decisions and planning. And he isn’t just referring to high school students.

Elementary school students in the city of Medicine Hat set themselves the task of reducing community water consumption by 12 per cent in a year. Students launched a program they designed, achieved their goal within in three months and have kept going. How’s that for getting things done.

Murgatroyd’s message to us was if we are serious about making positive changes for the future, it is essential to involve the people of the future.

In Conversation — the theme of this year’s UBCM — was very appropriate. My conversations with provincial ministers included requests for housing projects, increased funding for policing and sharing the thoughts of basin residents regarding the Columbia River Treaty.

Journalist Anna Maria Tremonti reminded us that direct conversation about important issues is not only important, but essential to create the change we want to see. She stated her disappointment at how difficult it has become to get interviews with federal politicians and encouraged us to engage, converse and share ideas no matter how controversial. I was encouraged and inspired by her address.

I was no sooner home, and then my bags were packed to attend the fourth annual Water Symposium on the Columbia River Basin in Polson, Montana. The trip included visits with county commissioners in Bonners Ferry, Libby, Kalispell and Eureka to converse about the Columbia River Treaty.

We talked about the concerns of Canadians, the future of the river and our communities. We discovered that we share many of the same issues and people were eager to learn more.

They were very interested in the community education sessions that we completed and in how we are bringing the issues of the basin to the provincial government.

The province has just confirmed they will be coming back to Nelson on November 27 to share the results of the studies they have undertaken. The venue will be confirmed soon and I look forward to seeing you there.


Deb Kozak is a Nelson city councillor who shares this Wednesday space with her colleagues around the table.