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Bluegrass music, 124 movies, 5400 Christmas lights, and 2238 steps per day: Nelson City Council May 20, 2014

Bill Metcalfe
By Bill Metcalfe
May 21st, 2014

There are usually two Nelson City Council meetings per month, and one of them is always the Committee of the Whole, in which community groups, city departments and committees, and individual members of the public, may make presentations. Council does not make decisions at these meetings. If something presented to the Committee of the Whole requires a decision, the city manager is asked to take the matter away and bring a recommendation to a future regular council meeting.

The following is a summary of the proceedings at the May 20, 2014, Committee of the Whole meeting. 

Christmas lights on Baker

Maureen Crawford presented a summary of last years program of Christmas Lights on Baker Street and requested an additional $5000 for 2014 from the Spurway fund to run additional lights.

The Spurway fund is a private endowment, administered by the city, intended specifically for the purpose of Christmas lights in Nelson.

Councillors Deb Kozak and Donna Macdonald said lighting has to be designed to fit within the larger picture of planning the downtown, contained in the Sustainable Waterfront and Downtown Master Plan. She suggested that staff look into this and bring back a recommendation, perhaps to use some money from the Spurway Fund to hire a designer to make sure the lighting is integrated in to the larger plan.

Crawford’s presentation to council is attached below.

Civic Theatre Society

Graeme Leadbeater, Don Johnston, and Jennifer Marshall of the Civic Theatre Society told council that since its opening a year ago in the city-owned building, the group has:

  • signed up 2400 members
  • shown 123 films in 390 screenings
  • rented the space to other groups 23 times
  • had 36,500 individual visits
  • made $300,000 worth of improvements.

They explained that the financial goals of the group are to provide three theatres, optimize the concession, improve operations, and complement local businesses. The social goals are to improve patron comfort, create social lobby gathering, showcase local talent, and engage with global community.

They said the group’s sustainability goals are to preserve a significant city asset, improve building efficiency, and promote local materials. Their accessibility and safety goals are to improve lighting and exiting, update electrical and fire alarm systems, upgrade washrooms, and improve accessibility.

The Civic Theatre’s presentation to council is attached below.

More details about the group’s plans and how it intends to work with the community (including the potentially competing Capitol Theatre) will appear in a separate story later this week in The Nelson Daily.

Walking and biking

A representative of the Interior Health Authority (IHA) presented statistics and facts about “active transportation,” which is city planning jargon for walking and biking. The city’s Active Transportation Plan is part of its Official Community Plan.

According to the presenters the amount of childrens’ physical activity, and the number of students who walk or bike to school, has decreased significantly over the past 20 years. They said most children would have to take an additional 2238 steps per day to reach an acceptable exercise level.

Barriers to children walking or biking to school include perception of danger from strangers, road safety, lack of bike lanes, weather, and distance.

They described the successful iWalk programs at South Nelson and Trafalgar schools in which:

  • Kid sand parents were encouraged to walk to school
  • Some classes did mapping to show safe routes and learn who else came from that area so they could walk together.
  • Students were dropped off from the bus several blocks away so they had to walk.
  • Kids who walked or biked to school entered their name in a draw for a small prize as incentive to be active.

The IHA presentation to council is attached below.

Bill Metcalfe is a freelance journalist who covers Nelson City Hall for The Nelson Daily. If you would like to receive a twice-monthly email with links to his recent city hall stories, send a request to 


Categories: GeneralPolitics