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City traps skunks, seniors protest buses, council creates zoning bylaw, RDCK thanks Nelson, blogger castigates council: Nelson city council September 30, 2013

Bill Metcalfe
By Bill Metcalfe
October 1st, 2013

Before its Committee of the Whole meeting on September 30, city council held a special meeting to deal with its new land use bylaw.

The city is developing two new bylaws—the  Zoning Bylaw and the Off-street Parking and Landscape Bylaw, both in draft form now—to replace its outdated Land Use Regulation Bylaw.

The proposed bylaws will regulate land use through such things as permitted uses, density, siting and size of buildings, and off-street parking.

Passing these bylaws will first require public consultation.  Council agreed on a proposed process of public consultation that will be subject of a future story in The Nelson Daily.


Every second council meeting is a Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting at which individual citizens or organizations may make presentations to council. No decisions are made at COW meetings. The following is a summary of presentations on September 30.

Bus protest

Lois Arnesen and several seniors who live at Granite Manor on Morgan St. appeared before council to protest the exclusion of Morgan Street from the new Nelson bus routes. They said they now have no way of getting downtown other than by taxi. Arnesen said many of the residents are in their 80s and 90s and cannot walk uphill  to the nearest stop which is now at the hospital entrance on View St.

They presented council with at 157-signature petition.

Councillor Donna Macdonald, who sits on the regional transit committee that has overseen the recent changes along with B.C. Transit, said someone from B.C. Transit would be in Nelson to meet with them this week. Macdonald says new routing changes could not be made before spring but that B.C. Transit is considering running a scheduled Handi-dart in the meantime.

Raccoons and skunks

A representative of Urban Trappers, the private company contracted by the city to control skunks, raccoons, and other wild animals in Nelson appeared before council with a year-end report.

During the summer of 2013, Urban Trappers received 147 phone enquiries leading to the trapping and relocating of 12 raccoons and 108 skunks.


Noreen Clayton, the Emergency Program Coordinator at the Regional District of Central Kootenay, appeared before council with a summary of the actions taken to deal with the fuel spill in the Slocan Valley this summer.

She said it was the largest evacuation ever undertaken in the Kootenays for a single event.

She said Nelson was “a great host community,” and she listed the various Nelson businesses and agencies that helped out during the evacuation.


Jeff Bray of Shaw Communications told council about the company’s products, services, community involvement, and planned network upgrades.

Schunke criticizes city’s handling of Nelson Commons

Blogger and frequent COW presenter Claus Schunke asked senior city staff member Frances Long why the Kootenay Co-op has never presented plans for Nelson Commons to council. Long replied that developers take their plans to senior planning staff and only must come before council if they are requesting a zoning change or other variance. She said the Co-op will be doing this at an upcoming council meeting.

Schunke suggested that the city has been improperly moving the Nelson Commons project along without the Co-op having provided plans or other required information about the project. 

Schunke described the design for the building as “Villa Kelowna” and accused the Co-op membership of being manipulated by “paid insiders.” He called the public and Co-op members “ignorant” and said the project is proceeding on a “self-glorifying cushion of entitlement.” He noted that there is not really much green space in the plan and that parking downtown will decrease. Many locals, he said, are “impatient with and distrustful of (Co-op) management’s mood swings.” He said the project will “erase for good the Official Community Plan’s downtown vision” and that it amounts to “institutionalized mediocrity.” He asked council to return the entire project to the drawing board because it “will determine no less than the current city administration’s legacy.”

There were no questions or comments from council following Schunke’s presentation.

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