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LETTER: Appreciating Nelson City Council and Cottonwood Lake

From reader Marylee Banyard

I recently visited Cottonwood Lake. A beautiful drive through trees with lush green undergrowth either side. Except in one small patch where smashed, chaotic debris of a logging enterprise brought a different reality into the picture.

I am thankful that Nelson City Council granted the Cottonwood Preservation Society a loan of $35,000 to purchase 49 hectares of forest above the lake to preserve it from logging.

Council is doing much to enhance our lives and help us recover our economy. We will enjoy a new pier, new gazebo and changes to the Civic Theatre. We very much need the stimulus to the economy of job creation. Nevertheless, however much these shovel ready capital projects will stimulate the economy, we must consider that those shovels in the ground also mean carbon in the air.

My consideration here is the juxtaposition of environmental health and the economy, which can no longer be considered different conflicting options. They are the same. We live in a place optimally healthy, physically and mentally. It is acknowledged that people who live without the natural environment tend not to prosper so well. Economically our tourism is based on our environment as much as our infrastructure.

We seem as yet unable to process the concept that we are part of our natural environment. But let’s consider balance and at least commit to allocate sources to our natural surroundings every time we contribute to our infrastructure, thereby also contributing to decarbonization and lessening the environmental damage we cause with our shovels. We, in our global system, are working towards cleaner energy options, but in the meantime let’s preserve and re-wild the earth around us as much as we can.

We need strong leadership. We need Cottonwood Park for ourselves and our tourist economy as much as we need our infrastructure.

Marylee Banyard

Nelson