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Social media, public art, seniors parking, fire prevention, sustainability awards, and more: Nelson City Council July 7, 2014

Bill Metcalfe
By Bill Metcalfe
July 8th, 2014

Here’s a summary of the proceedings of the Nelson City Council meeting held on July 7, 2014.

Seniors parking fees increased

Council decided to increase the cost of a seniors parking pass from $20 to $30 per year, the first increase in ten years. The pass does not apply on Baker St.

Public art donations

Council updated the city’s 2010 Public Art Policy to add a section on art donations, and under what circumstances the city will accept donations of art and by what criteria. The updated policy is attached.

Council discovers social media

Council adopted a policy that attempts to guide the city for the first time into the use of social media. The policy does contain a couple of mentions of “dialogue” and “relationship” but it is clear (and this was reiterated in the discussion at the meeting) that the purpose is one-way communication from the city to the public, and not to receive public comments.

The policy does not preclude individual councillors from talking with citizens about city business on a councillor’s personal social media account. No one on council currently does this.

The policy is attached below.

New fire prevention regulations

Council updated its fire prevention bylaw, attached below, and updated its list of fines for various infractions, also attached.

Many of the changes are administrative, but also included are

  • increased regulation of outdoor wood fires,
  • shipping container safety and inspections,
  • provision for cost recovery by the city if a fire is a result of unlawful activity, and
  • additional regulation of dangerous goods.

Sustainability leadership awards

The city will fund four annual $1000 sustainability leadership awards similar to its cultural ambassador award. These will be in the environmental, economic, social, and recreational/sport areas. Awards will be given based on activities that contribute to the city’s Path to 2040 Sustainability Strategy. The initiative was begun by Councillor Candace Batycki and her document explaining the awards is attached below.

Renewed gas tax funding means significant revenue for the city

Council agreed to enter into an agreement with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities to receive Community Works funds through the Federal Gas Tax Program for the years 2014 to 2024 to replace the current agreement that began in 2005. The gas tax funding amounts currently to $461,000 per year and it is used by the city to fund capital projects such as the Hall Street upgrade.

Christmas lights

Council decided that it will give $1000 from the Spurway Fund (a private endowment earmarked especially for Christmas lights and administered by the city) to the Christmas lights community volunteer group, and accept in-kind donations of labour and materials from city departments, to maintain but not add to the current Christmas lights.

The reason council does not want additional lights other than those already installed or ready to install is that it wants to hire a consultant to create an overall design for Baker Street that would not just be about lighting but about other aesthetics and amenities such as banners, benches, and so on. City staff will report back to council in November about the cost and parameters of hiring the consultant.


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