Reflections and expectations

The election is coming! So this is my last column as a city councillor. Have I lived up to your expectations?

The election is coming! So this is my last column as a city councillor. Have I lived up to your expectations? Have I lived up to my own expectations? Have I actually made a difference?

One of the things I talked about in my election campaign was wanting to improve communications between city hall and the public. I think we’ve come a long way in that regard.

We’re explaining what we’re doing a lot better, mostly due to our awesome (part-time) communications officer, and linking it to the priorities established at the beginning of each year. More important than the frequency and quality of our communications is that we now regularly stop and ask the question on most issues and actions: what is the most appropriate way to move forward? Do we need public input (hence council’s most recent pause before approving any work on the ball field at Lions Park)? Can we provide more information on our website? How can we respond to feedback?

I know I’ve worked hard over the three years in the portfolios I was in — particularly on the Path to 2040 Sustainability Plan, and the Community Energy and Emissions Plan (the Low Carbon Path to 2040), but my hat goes off to councillor Deb Kozak for her important work at the regional level, and to councillor Donna Macdonald for her ability to make things happen.

The major planning processes that we have undertaken over the last three years will give staff and future councils the direction they need to make difficult decisions on allocating scarce resources.

One disappointment I have was that parks planning didn’t make it onto the priorities list for 2011, but the staff capacity just wasn’t there. Certainly if it had we would be in a much better position to quickly evaluate proposals like the upgrades to the Lions Park ball field, the requested improvements to Cottonwood Falls Park, etc. Hopefully we’ll see a master plan for our parks in 2012.

Did I contribute to the council table discussions in a meaningful way? I think so. Although I have been labeled “green” (I guess joining the provincial Green Party may have had something to do with that), I believe I’ve been open minded enough to consider all four pillars in all of my decision making.

It’s important to have diverse viewpoints represented at the table, in order to look at issues from all angles. But it’s also really important to have fresh, new perspectives. So consider how you can contribute to increasing the quality of decision making at the table in the upcoming election.

I know two of the three new candidates — Paula Kiss and Candace Batycki, and can attest that they would be excellent additions to the table. Both are able to grasp the big picture and yet understand how to get from here to there. They both have critical thinking skills and are able to listen attentively to other’s points of view.  And they are both hard workers who care deeply about their community.

Have I lived up to my own expectations? It was fun, I’ve learned a lot, and it was only frustrating occasionally. I met so many new people through community engagements, and have been overwhelmed by the level of volunteerism and commitment from Nelson’s residents. What an amazing community I have had the honor to serve.

Thank you for all the support I have received over the last three years. Now get out and vote for a new crew on November 19.