2011 Nelson Municipal Election: Unfinished business, Sunday bus service brings Robin Cherbo back to run
By Robin Cherbo
My Italian grandparents arrived in the Kootenays in the late 1800s and were involved in prospecting and mining.
My father worked in Nelson for over 20 years at the CPR diesel shop. I was born in Creston in December, 1946 where I attended high school. I first came to Nelson in 1957 with my family on a CPR passenger train, arriving at the CPR station for a visit.
After attending Notre Dame University in 1966-1967, I was hired by the Ministry of Transportation and Highways (MOTH) as a surveyor.
I really liked Nelson, the friendliness and hometown atmosphere, so I was very happy when I was able to live here in 1978, when I started to work for Nelson District Highways.
Married to Colleen Driscoll RN in 1993, we purchased our first house in Uphill and then our second house on the top of Ward Street.
For many years I was an activist with my union, BCGEU: regional vice-president, component treasurer and local chair. Currently I am vice-chair of Local 700 of the BC Government Retired Employees Association.
I became more politically active locally after the cut backs to Kootenay Lake Hospital services in 2002. Then I became a co-chair for ‘Save our Services’ (SOS) and Nelson and Area Society for Health (NASH).
In 2004, I was Corky Evan’s financial officer for his election as a MLA. After I was elected to City Council in 2005, I joined the Nelson and Area Health Task Force of which I am now the chair.
Because I am the liaison to Nelson Electric Tramway Society, I decide to take the training and became a Tramway operator. I am also a member of the Nelson Road Kings Car Club.
I also support cycling, as we own mountain and road bikes and participate in the Nelson Triathlon. Other sports I am involved in are downhill skiing, hiking and kayaking.
In 2009, I joined Nelson Rotary Noon Club to participate in funding improvements for Rotary Lakeside Park and supporting worldwide charities.
I decided to run again when the Sunday bus service was cut without having a public meeting and/or public input to discuss the financial problems with transit and to see if there were any other options available.
After attending the UBCM in Vancouver, I was further inspired to run again considering all the issues facing municipalities.
I bring common sense to the council table and a desire to assist citizens who need someone to represent their concerns.
The characteristics that embody a Nelson municipal politician is a love for Nelson in trying to enhance the city for all citizens, and at the same time be responsible for the allocated use of the taxpayer money.
Issues The One issue I feel is being ignored is to update the bylaw concerned with the no smoking areas in the city. We could follow other cities, such as Vancouver, on establishing a proper no-smoke distance from public doorways, no-smoking on beaches around children, no-smoking at bus stops and finding solutions to deal with people who throw their cigarette butts on the streets.
With our Water and Sewer Master Plan, one of the largest projects in Nelson is dealing with the aging infrastructure in the city.
We have future projects such as digging up Baker Street in order to put in a street drainpipe line to separate the sewage line from street drains to improve the operation and efficiency at our sewage treatment plant.
Currently, we are upgrading our electrical services in putting in underground lines, but there still will be a lot of work in upgrading services, streets and sidewalks.
Nelson is a special case in terms of a community where everyone wants to live here, from affluent people to homeless people. This results in higher housing costs and rental prices with limited spaces for low income and homeless people.
City Hall and City operations appear to be working well, with excellent staff, but there is always a huge workload. We have improved communications with citizens, but with technology there can always be enhancements.
There are numerous issues to address in the city while being cost effective, with due diligence, within the budget process.
My views on …
- I am a supporter of the Nelson City Police force, who are cost effective in working within their budget. While the RCMP are a competent force they are short hundreds of offices and cannot back fill vacancies and many Cities and Regional Districts are not happy with the coverage virus the cost. For the cost, the Nelson City Police are’ able to give better coverage and are instantly available for any incidents.
- As most people know I did not vote to cut Sunday bus service. As a council we need to look at reinstatement of Sunday bus service. We could increase revenues by advertising our buses, looking at innovative ways to get more people out of cars and riding City buses. We could also review in having better bus ticket packages with bonus free days, as well as having free bus days for special holidays, like New Year’s Eve, to support the ‘do not drink and drive’ programs by ICBC.
- I respect the fact that most dog owners are responsible but, unfortunately, for the few who are not and for health and safety, the bylaw needs to remain as is in the downtown core. Although it could be looked at for a dog corridor along Ward Street to enable dog owners to walk their dogs through the city to access the dog run between the City Airport and the West Arm of Kootenay Lake.
- Many strategies can be tried to make Nelson more of a tourist destination. I would support a free day parking pass for visitors who come from out of BC. An RV campground could be set up at the current site of the transfer station for all the visitors who arrive with large RVs. As well, Baker Street could be revitalized again with new awnings, cleaner buildings and streets and upgrades as per our Downtown/Waterfront Master Plan.
- Currently, City staff and Nelson Hydro are reviewing all the water rates for the City to come up with an equitable rate system that would be fair for all residents and business for a report to council.
- While there are attractions to making Baker Street a pedestrian zone, there are problems to eliminating driving and parking. Baker Street is the shopping centre for surrounding communities from which most people come by car. Shoppers from Nelson may also be arriving by car in the downtown core because of the challenging terrain in town. Nelson doesn’t have enough parking to replace what would be lost on Baker Street. While it may get some people out of cars, it may just drive some to park in residential areas and others to bypass Baker Street in favour of the free parking at the mall — to the detriment of all the businesses on Baker Street. We could look at different ideas such as having Baker Street a one-way street where we could have angle parking on one side.
- I believe the Vancouver Canucks have a good chance of getting back into the playoffs. Whether they make it to the Stanley Cup final is too soon even to guess.