For new residents moving from larger centres, the lack of chain stores is sometimes a shock. Though most who pull up stakes and arrive to Nelson have a pretty good idea what they are in for, the urge to chow down on a Big Mac still remains.
Results from the New Residents Survey were recently released and it’s no surprise some of the Kootenay rookies are calling for McDonald’s, Tim Hortons and other shingles they are used to seeing hang in bigger cities. Every year it’s the same, but as anyone who has lived here long enough knows the desire quickly fades.
What we don’t have in Nelson is just a tiny piece of the puzzle the survey puts together. It’s an important document and one local leaders and businesses should not ignore.
The most recent survey touched base with 238 new arrivals from a variety of backgrounds, locations and ages. More than half of those given the lengthy survey — 140 — cited “lifestyle change” as the reason for arriving.
Just what that lifestyle is depends upon the individual, but there are base values that make Nelson such an attractive place. Geography is top of the list, we live in one of the most idyllic spots in British Columbia. A bustling downtown core full of commerce and culture is another big lure. A high level of tolerance and understanding from those who do call this place home is another welcoming feature.
Defining exactly what makes Nelson so great is not easy. Those lucky enough to think of themselves as “locals” all have different answers. Even though we sometimes take it for granted, the large majority understand their good fortune.
With a municipal election on the horizon, the New Residents Survey becomes an even more important tool to mapping out our future. Those newest to our shores are just as important as those who have lived a lifetime along the West Arm. Candidates looking to bolster their platforms might do well by looking at the community through the fresh eyes of Nelson newbies. It’s about lifestyle and city council plays a large hand in maintaining what makes this city great.