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Knotweed, affordable housing, composting, restorative justice and Donna Macdonald’s farewell speech—Nelson City Council November 18, 2014

Bill Metcalfe
By Bill Metcalfe
November 18th, 2014

Committee of the Whole meetings are held once each month. Council does not make decisions at them, but hears presentations from community groups, council committees, and city hall staff about a variety of city-related projects and issues. If Council feels a decision needs to be made or more discussion is needed on any specific matter presented, it is put on the agenda of a later regular council meeting.

The following is a summary of presentations at the November 17, 2014, Committee of the Whole. This was the final meeting of the current council. The new council will be sworn in on December 8.


Retiring Councillor Donna Macdonald, in the final meeting of her 19-year career on City Council, made a departing speech, paying tribute to councillors, staff, and the voters.

Macdonalds’s three-minute speech, which was followed by a standing ovation, can be heard here

Affordable Housing

In May, 2014, City Spaces Consulting was hired to prepare an update to the city’s Affordable Housing Strategy, first adopted in 2010. The city’s senior planner, Megan Squires, presented the completed update to Council.

The extensive report, which covers demographics, markets, affordability, needs and gaps, and a proposed strategy, will be the subject of a separate story in The Nelson Daily in early December. 

The report is attached below.


In March, 2014, Council decided to hire a consultant to look into composting options for the city. Fiona Galbraith, the city’s Corporate Energy Coordinator, was chosen for the job.

Galbraith gave an interim report to council on her work, saying that a final report will be ready by the spring. She said residential organic collection for composting is already a part of Regional District of Central Kootenay resource recovery plan now being developed, and that her work would be applied to non-residential entities in Nelson such as schools, multi-unit residences, and hospitals.

She discussed several new composting technologies and stated that “mid-sized in-vessel” systems would be best and she will be researching them further. Her research on systems, sites, and options continues, and her presentation to Council is attached below.

Related story: A compost debate and more– a summary of the June 10 council meeting (June 11, 2013)

Knotweed can grow through concrete

Matt Chilakos, Program Technician, and Crystal Klim, Executive Director of Central Kootenay Invasive Plant Committee, talked to Council about the shockingly destructive effects of knotweed, a common invasive plant in Nelson.

Their photos of knotweed growing through pavement and basements were compelling, along with their descriptions of how knotweed can only be curtailed mechanically by cutting it back every two weeks for many years, or chemically by inoculating some of the stems to destroy its root system. They described the landscape-destroying properties of knotweed and the various ways landowners can unknowingly allow it to spread.

Chilakos and Klim presented their maps of knotweed infestation in Nelson and their recommendations for education, monitoring, and control. The presentation is attached below.

Related story: Nelson will impose fines for allowing spread of invasive plants (November 14, 2013)

Restorative Justice

For Restorative Justice Week (November 6 to 23), Constable Falcone of the Nelson City Police, Restorative Justice Coordinator Jerry Sobie, and volunteer Regina Day told council about the recently formed restorative justice program at the Nelson City Police.

The program trains volunteers to facilitate conferences between crime victims and people with no criminal record charged with minor offences to seek ways to repair the damage caused by the incident, to minimize further harm and initiate conflict resolution, as an alternative to criminal proceedings.

The material on restorative justice presented by Sobie is attached at the end of this article.

Related story: Nelson Police Department rolls out innovative Restorative Justice Program (April 1, 2014)



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