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City Council's light January 20 agenda, a summary

Bill Metcalfe
By Bill Metcalfe
January 21st, 2014

On January 20 for the third meeting in a row (see summaries of the previous two here and here) council met for a very light agenda.

Committee of the Whole meetings are designed for community groups, the city’s own departments, and individuals to present to council, although individuals with one exception rarely if ever take this opportunity. Every second Nelson City Council meeting (i.e. once each month) is a Committee of the Whole meeting.

Typically the presentations at the Committee of the Whole are information items and sometimes their connection to council business is tenuous. They rarely ask council for any particular action and if they do, such matters are put over to a future regular meeting. 

The following is a summary of January 20’s two-hour-plus Committee of the Whole meeting.

Kootenay Smoke Free Coalition

A delegation from the Kootenay Smoke Free Coalition, headed by Trish Hill, the Interior Health Authority’s (IHA’s) Tobacco Reduction Coordinator, explained the group’s activities, outlined the reasons one should not smoke and the benefits of quitting, and recommended that the city pass a by-law banning smoking from outdoor city properties such as trails, parks, beaches, and recreational areas.

Interior Health Authority

Cindy Crane of Interior Health updated council on a number of activities of the IHA in the region including demographic statistics, fiscal challenges, its new mental health primary care integration team, the introduction of nurse practitioner positions, and the healthy communities initiative.

Operations Update

Rob Nystrom, Manager of Engineering for the city, gave a one-hour presentation outlining various public works activities in 2013, most of which had already crossed the council table in one form or another during that year.

Nelson Hydro proposed rate increase

Alex Love of Nelson Hydro appeared before council to tell members that at the next meeting he will be presenting a draft budget for the upcoming fiscal year that will propose a hydro rate increase of 2.85% to cover capital projects including pole replacements and an increase of 3.3% in the cost of the portion of Nelson’s power that it purchases from Fortis B.C. He said the increase he will be proposing to council in the near future would be the lowest increase by any electrical utility in the province, the highest of which will be B.C. Hydro’s proposed 9% increase.

In private

Before and after the Committee of the Whole meeting, council met in camera, which means in private, excluding the public and the media. In camera meetings are typically held to discuss personnel issues, negotiations that are in progress with unions or others, and sensitive legal matters. 

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