It is customary at this season to reflect on a year gone by and express goodwill to one’s community, and I warmly wish to endorse the custom. Nelson is fortunate indeed that we see more “hugs” than “slugs” offered up in the pages of your paper, demonstrating locals have a good habit of counting our manifest blessings and feeling gratitude.
That said, with the prospect of a municipal election a year from now, I would still wish to press home the point that Nelson’s social inequities are not in decline, but rather the reverse; over the 30 years I have called this wonderful town my home, Nelson has drifted into the same social pathologies as elsewhere in the world’s richest nations. Local politicians have a leadership role to play in making Nelson a model for our country in finding solutions to homelessness, poverty, unemployment, and environmental deterioration.
We have some inspired people here. Their energy applied to our social problems is making a difference.
Still we are not doing better than other places, and our low income levels are a cause for concern in a town where housing costs are unfairly elevated by “market forces” [re: strong demand from people with money to buy into a ready-made high quality of life, and business, beginning with developers and retailers, actively seeking to attract new gentry to town].
I say to anyone who is considering a run for election to Nelson Council or the RDCK board: think hard about the social issue and come to the campaign in November 2018 with serious, credible ideas for change.
Wishing every reader of these lines a fine holiday at the Yule turning of the year, I say a special thank-you to those most active in the community in our social and cultural sectors. Nelson is no longer “a well-kept secret”(as former mayor Gary Exner told me in 1995), and our popularity as a great lifestyle place to live is piling up difficult challenges. Our activists are the first line of defence against declining quality of life.