LETTER: Celebrating our community’s humanity

From reader George Chandler

You do it, too, right? You know, that little bit (or more!) of bragging that most of us do with family or friends elsewhere, about what a wonderful place Nelson is.

I often highlight the pleasure of living in a smaller, relaxed but still urban community; or about the easy access to beautiful forests, trails and lakes. But there’s lots to boast about: unique shops, cafes and cool heritage downtown; thriving tech sector, vibrant arts scene, active sports world, including all-seasons outdoor recreational.

Or maybe you brag about Nelson being a progressive, special place to live.

All of these, and more, are real aspects of our community’s strength. But as amazing as Nelson is, are these the best ways to measure and talk about how our community is really doing? I have another suggestion.

In Nelson, we have both a cultural and a sports ambassador. We also celebrate sustainability leadership, heritage and local businesses. I believe the time has come for us to appoint an official Community Well-Being Ambassador.

Like the other ambassadors, this Community Well-Being Ambassador would both be celebrated and have an active role to represent Nelson, both locally and externally.

This ambassador would be someone demonstrating excellence, as well as humanity and dignity, in their work towards community well-being and quality of life, and would be chosen from different aspects of community life.

Other places have done some out-of-the-box thinking around formal posts. Wales has a Commissioner of Future Generations. Israel has something similar. The U.K. has a Minister of Loneliness. There is a Canadian Index of Well-Being that, when partnered with GDP, gives a more complete picture of community well-being.

Let’s do something special that reminds us, and those outside our community, what is important to and about us. This would really give us something to brag about.

George Chandler