On Monday, December 2, I attended a regular City Council meeting; two items on the agenda caught my attention. The first item (the Good) concerned the capital upgrades to Nelson’s water and sewer systems.
I was impressed with the report that city works had created a capital crew to engage in this work rather than contracting out this replacement of pipes work.
Hats off to the staff involved in making this decision and saving taxpayers’ dollars. The estimated cost had been $1,000 per meter and the city crew has been able to do this work for an average cost of $525 per meter.
Given that the city has been repairing an average of 1.8 kilometres of waterline replacement annually the savings amount to close to a million dollars a year that stay in city coffers rather than down the drain and into the pockets of outside contractors.
The second item that caught my attention (the Bad) was a proposal to revise our bylaws in such a way that would permit drive-thru restaurants in the C2, Service Commercial Zone.
This would include commercial property along Nelson Avenue in Fairview. To her credit Councillor Batycki raised concerns about the trash that can be created in the vicinity of a drive-thru restaurant. I think that the residents in the area of a popular drive-thru coffee franchise may have more to say about the air quality degradation created by a queue of idling vehicles.
No one raised the issue of the negative economic impact to our many downtown walk-in cafes — business owners who offer more local and healthy food than can be found in any corporate franchise.
I want to protect the things that make Nelson great; this includes clean air and small locally-owned businesses that provide the space and atmosphere where people can meet and take the time to talk and appreciate each other and our community. Corporate owned drive-thru restaurant businesses value volume sales and profit above the environment and the social wellbeing of a community. It surprised me that the councillors didn’t raise some of these concerns. The community that I want to live in does not include drive-thru restaurants. Plain ugly!