The lights are back on in Nelson.
Christmas lights, that is. Nelsonites asked for the lights to be turned back on after a brief seasonal hiatus, city crews were preparing lights Monday night in anticipation of the December season.
Although the decree to bring the lights and decorations back was delivered several weeks before by city council, the return of the lights — and listening to the public — helped mark the inaugural speech at the inauguration of John Dooley in the mayor’s seat.
Dooley returned to the seat of mayor in the city — the fourth time he has been elected mayor — Monday night in a ceremony at the Prestige Lakeside Resort convention centre before packed house of over 200 people.
The new attitude of City Hall will be not about getting the message out about the work of the municipal administration, said Dooley, but about hearing the message of the people of Nelson.
“I happen to believe one of our challenges in the last number of years … has been information coming in, that we need to be listening better to what the community has to say, and not be trying to force feed them our ideas,” he said. “It has to be a two-way communication.”
One of the motivators for him running for mayor was to make sure there was that connection back to City Hall once again.
“And I want to see that (feedback) come from the community,” Dooley said.
He cited several community groups that have had their needs ignored in an attempt to raise non-tax revenue for the city, including seniors (parking pass hikes) and Glacier Gymnastics, which has had to triple its registration fees for children in order to meet the higher rent cost the city had levied.
Six council members were sworn in Monday night as well, with only Janice Morrison returning from the previous council. Morrison will be joined by Rick Logtenberg, Brittny Anderson, Jesse Woodward, Cal Renwick and Keith Page for the next term of council.
Dooley described them as a “New Age” council — with an injection of five new voices — and he personally insured each council member would be successful in the next four years.
Several of the new council members had young families and Dooley said it was for the young that the direction of municipal government must be set.
“We want to keep children at the heart of every decision we make in our community, because they are the future of our community going forward,” he said.
Dooley noted he had a list of ideas he wanted to put forth with council, including a few that have been around for several years, such as the Mount St. Francis lands.
“I would like to see a way of getting that developed,” he iterated.
The former city transfer station on the waterfront is now ready to be moved forward and developed as well, Dooley added.
During the meeting, council approved director positions for the Regional District of Central Kootenay and Recreation Commission.
Returning councillor Janice Morrison was appointed to sit as the City of Nelson rep on the RDCK board with Brittny Anderson serving as alternate.
For Recreation Commission, Cal Renwick was voted into the position with Keith Page serving as alternate.
Six councilors, from left, Brittny Anderson, Rick Logtenberg, Janice Morrison, Keith Page, Cal Renwick and Jesse Woodward, follow Chief Corporate Officer Frances Long (standing) during the swearing in ceremony Monday at the Prestige Lakeside Resort.
From left, Hilda Taylor, Const. Sarah Hannah and Sgt. Corey Hoy of Nelson Police Department, Bill Reid and Mayor John Dooley. Taylor and Reid were honour by the City for six years of serving on the Nelson Police Board.
The St. Joseph's Choir sang O'Canada to begin open the Inaugural Meeting of Council Monday at the Prestige Lakeside Resort.