I received a phone call the other day from local author Frances Welwood who invited me to her book launch at Touchstones on October 27. Her book is about Annie Garland Foster, Nelson’s first female alderman elected in 1920.
Foster would be known as a councillor today and probably as Ms. not Mrs. Foster. This date reminded me that women in BC did not have the right to vote until 1917, meaning that only three years later Annie Foster was elected to council.
Frances also informed me that Nelson has elected 19 women to city council since its beginnings over 100 years ago and 15 of us are still kicking around. I’m so very proud to be counted among this number and proud that our country has democratic elections where citizens can freely choose who will represent them. When I hear and see what is happening in countries like Libya and Egypt it makes it even more important that we continue to exercise our privilege to vote. Speak with your candidates, ask questions and make your choice known on November 19.
As cherished as democracy is, it can be tumultuous and messy. Occupy Wall Street came to Nelson last Saturday and I was present along with others on council to hear the speakers. This phenomenon has captured the spirits and minds of people all over the world as people band together to protest greed and destruction. I was given the opportunity to understand more about it on Tuesday of last week when I joined the mayor, councillor Donna Macdonald and city staff met with a few of the people who continue to occupy the property around city hall. It is their intention to peacefully stay at least until Remembrance Day when they have been asked to vacate and turn over this space to the veterans and others in the community who will gather on that day. The group was respectful and agreed. They are aware that city hall is community property that belongs to everyone.
It is their intention host information events and to treat the property with respect as they continue give out their message. We all agreed to meet again this week.
Long range planning has been a hallmark of the work this council has undertaken; everything from the downtown waterfront and sustainability planning to greenhouse gas reduction. The next large piece coming forward will be the recreation master plan through the recreation commission. I’m excited and optimistic about this work as it involves the larger regional community and will assist us in defining and delivering sport, recreation and leisure needs well into the future.
A well thought out plan will assist us in the development of our parks and facilities and will provide information on the coming trends that keep our community liveable and healthy. Solid planning also provides a framework to put good proposals into action, something we have needed for a long time.
Now that the stage is set, I’m hoping to be a part of those action plans after November 19.