There's a new man in town gunning to be the next mayor of Nelson
While the current mayor is away attending to the needs of the city at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), a Heritage City native was tossing his hat into the ring to replace the incumbent.
Nelson’s Pat Severyn announced Thursday his challenge for the mayor’s seat in the upcoming municipal election in November.
“Over the last three years it appears to me . . . I’m not going to say anything negative about the people who are there now and what they are doing . . . people have disagreements all the time about the way things are run, but I’ve come from a belief that teamwork is everything and I don’t think there’s great teamwork in council right now,” the 58-year-old Severyn said during his media phone tour Thursday night.
“I think without a lot of teamwork it’s very difficult to hold people accountable because of the fractures that occur.”
“So my number one reason for running for mayor is I want to instill teamwork and accountability back into council and the mayor’s position,” Severyn added.
Born and raised in Nelson, Pat Severyn played minor hockey while attending school before leaving Nelson to pursue a BC Junior Hockey career in Penticton with the Knights and then to the Kelowna Buckaroos.
The following year he played for Amarillo Wranglers/Lone Stars in the South West Hockey League before returning to the Heritage City to finish out with the Nelson Maple Leafs of the Western International Hockey League.
Back in Nelson Severyn was employed as a salesman at the former Lakeside Motors on Vernon Street before joining the Nelson Police Reserves in 1981.
Severyn, a father of two, joined the police force in 1982, working for the Nelson Police Department until his retirement in 2011.
“There is a feeling out there that everything (in the city) is being run quite smoothly, and quite affectively and we don’t have too many issues, but I think Nelson is full of issues,” Severyn explained.
“Nelson has such a diverse population here that you can’t keep everybody happy, and I understand that as well.”
Severyn, supported in his goal to be the next mayor of Nelson by his wife Donna, said he understands the homeless situation affecting the city is not a problem that is going to go away and solutions must be found.
However, the latest proposed idea, forming a campground, does not sit well with Severyn.
“I don’t feel having people camp out from June to October is a solution,” he said.
“I think that’s a Band-Aid solution. We have to support a lot of these programs in conjunction with Nelson Cares and protect those programs and try to enhance them.”
“I don’t feel (homeless issue) is being dealt with as well as it could,” Severyn adds.
Severyn also said Nelson’s infrastructure is wearing out and a long-term strategy must be devised to deal with the problem without raising taxes.
“Our tax base is as high as we can take in residential and in business,” Severyn stated.
“We have to shave from places, and whether that is from administration or whether its equipment, we have to find and save money because we can’t just keep going to the well because the well is eventually going to run dry.”
Currently only a few new people have offered names up to run for councilor positions in the upcoming Nelson municipal election.
Any candidate, including the incumbent Mayor John Dooley, has until Friday, October 10 to submit nomination papers to Elections BC.
Severyn confirmed he’s not allowing his name to stand simply to raise issues in the upcoming race.
Having been involved in sports all his life, winning is the only reason to enter a race.
“I don’t play to make things interesting,” Severyn confessed, adding he will not run a negative campaign against Mayor Dooley or any other candidates who may choose to run.
“I’m not in this race just to raise issues . . . I’m going to raise issues but I’m going into this to be the mayor of Nelson.
“If I didn’t, I’d be wasting my time and wasting other people’s time and that’s not me.”