Japan Disaster Relief Money, Neighbourhood Consultation About a Construction Project, Changes to Hospice Care, a Seven-Year-Old's Assessment of the Nelson Library, and More—A Summary of the November 19 Nelson City Council Meeting
Once each month Nelson City Council holds a Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting, where members of the public are invited to come and express their concerns or ideas, and organizations may attend and tell council about their activities.
(At a recent council meeting, Councillor Candace Batycki suggested (with a smile) that the council come up with a more fitting name than COW, but no action has been taken yet.)
How and when will Nelson spend its relief money donated to Japan?
At the November 19 COW meeting, local citizen and blogger Claus Schunke continued his assault on Council that started several meetings ago regarding the still-unspent $40,000 donated by Nelson citizens 18 months ago to tsunami relief in Japan. He accused council of lack of transparency, lack of credibility, and indecision in terms of who the money belongs to, what it will be spent on, and who will decide.
City manager Kevin Cormack responded to Schunke by saying, “The funds were legally donated to the city. It is all in a bank account. It is unfortunate that it has taken so long, but Council will make a decision based on the wishes of the committee (a committee of citizens that collected the money in the spring of 2011). When the committee comes up with a recommendation they will come to Council with it.”
Lack of public consultation about a construction project?
Resident Tom Murray expressed his concern about a high voltage transmission line that was recently constructed by the City of Nelson near his house on Innis Street. He described the disruption of the neighbourhood and lack of information during the construction and said, “It was disrespectful not to engage the stakeholders when you are doing a major infrastructure project, basically right in front of my yard where my kids play. I know that the city has every legal right to do this, but I have higher expectations of how these things come about and so what I hope for now and the future, is just to have a better outcome by trying to engage people who are going to be impacted before the shovel hits the dirt.”
3-D printing at the Library?
Chief Librarian June Stockdale began her library update by quoting a seven year old girl’s comment on the library’s Halloween program: “This is the best library in the world. No I mean it!! I am from Chicago and have travelled a lot and have spent a lot of time in libraries and this is the Best Library Ever!”
The presentation by Stockdale (who is also the President of the B.C. Library Association) and Library Board Chair Dianne Harke discussed the transition of the Nelson Municipal Library from an old-school printed-books-only facility to an updated centre of printed, digital, and community information, and to a “true community hub” for people to learn how to use information technology.
Harke and Stockdale said enrollment at the library has remained stable for the past year except for the two areas of the Regional District of Central Kootenay that voted last year to have library support included in their taxes (and therefore not pay a user fee), where enrollment has seen a continuous increase.
Stockdale said the library may become the site of Nelson’s first public 3-D printer.
Hospice Society will merge with Kalein
Colleen Driscoll of the Hospice Society updated council on the activities of the group, which provides “practical, emotional and spiritual support to individuals and their loved ones through the stages of dying, death and bereavement.”
She explained that the Nelson and Kaslo Hospice Societies have amalgamated to form the North Kootenay Lake Hospice Society, which will be moving into the former monastery building in Rosemont recently purchased by the Kalein Hospice Society. Kalein plans to build a hospice care facility there. Driscoll reported that the Kalein group and the Hospice Society will eventually merge.
Power generation at the Duncan Dam?
Audrey Repin of the Columbia Power Corporation outlined the group’s work since 1996 in building and operating the Arrow Lakes Generating Station, the Waneta Expansion, and the Brilliant Dam. Columbia Power is a Crown Corporation that operates as a joint venture with the Columbia Basin Trust.
Repin said the Corporation will soon begin public consultations about future projects that may include upgrading the Duncan Dam to power generation and expansion of the Elko Dam in the East Kootenay.
Flood control and other practical matters
The City of Nelson’s Director of Engineering and Operations, Allen Fillion, updated Council on his department’s activities in water, sewer, public works, parks, facilities, and waste management, including a discussion of recent downtown flooding and strategies to reduce this in the future.