Last week, mayors from across the country arrived in Nelson for three days of important meetings that will help shape the direction of municipalities in Canada. Twice a year the Federation of Canadian Municipalities holds a large gathering and Nelson provided the setting this time around.
And boy, did Nelson come through.
The hundred-plus leaders and administrators were treated to one of the finest early-September weather stretches we have seen in many years. And that was just the beginning.
Hotels, restaurants, merchants and regular folks on the street left an impression that will not soon be forgotten by these key local leaders. The setting itself will be talked about from Nova Scotia to northern British Columbia.
It wasn’t too many years ago that a group of concerned residents fought hard to prevent the building of the Prestige Lakeside Resort. Concerned about the deal the city struck with the developer of the hotel and convention centre, it even went to court (and lost).
Last week the waterfront facility was the focal point of the meetings and without it there would have been no convention.
“People sitting on that deck in the morning having their coffee or having dinner… they were just in awe,” Mayor John Dooley said.
Waging war over development in Nelson is nothing new. There are strong feelings on both sides of the debate over isolation or open doors. This plot of paradise is important to all who live here so passion is to be expected.
Events like the federation gathering last week show just how important progress is. This boon to the local economy was important for the now and its impact will be felt into the future.
Kudos to Mayor John Dooley who was instrumental in getting his Federation of Canadian Municipalities colleagues to visit last week. Plenty of credit should also be showered on city staff, sponsors and everyone else who had a hand in this highly successful showcase of our wonderful community.