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Ecosociety wins gold in Nelson’s first annual Sustainability Awards

Bill Metcalfe
By Bill Metcalfe
December 16th, 2014

The West Kootenay Ecosociety won first place in the city’s first annual Sustainability Awards presented on December 8 at the Prestige Inn.

Former city councillor Candace Batycki presented the gold, silver, and bronze awards for the event which she played a major part in creating.

“The Ecosociety has excelled at community engagement,” Batycki told the 200 people gathered to witness the inauguration of the new city council. “By bringing together diverse communities to explore, understand, and experience sustainability, whether at the weekly Cottonwood Falls, the Baker Street farmers markets, the Friday night market fests, educational events, or even the odd rally at City Hall.

“While the old thinking was that there is a conflict between environmental stewardship and economic prosperity,” she said, “the Ecosociety has successfully highlighted the economic opportunities that accompany sustainability.

“The jury also wanted to make special mention of David Reid, the executive director of the Ecosociety, who was also nominated as an individual. It is clear that David’s leadership at the Ecosociety is a key factor in its success.”

A jury scored the nominations for contributions in five categories: cultural strength, healthy neighbourhoods, robust ecosystems, prosperity, and resiliency. 

In his acceptance speech (which starts at 11:30 in the above video created by the city), Reid paid tribute to Micheal Jessen, John Alton, and Suzie Hamilton, “who planted the Ecosociety seed 20 years ago. I have been fortunate to come along and help let that plant grow and harvest some fruit.”

Reid said the Ecosociety is planning to form a regional network to bring people together to create a regional sustainability plan “much like Nelson has done with the 2040 plan . . . because we know that as sustainable as Nelson might be, we can not get there without the whole region.”

The Ecosociety’s prize came with an award of $1500. The silver and bronze awards were $1250 and $1000 respectively.

Second prize: architect Lukas Armstrong

The silver sustainability award went to Lukas Armstrong, an architect in the Cover Architecture Collective.

“Lukas Armstrong is demonstrating bold leadership in passive house and green building solutions that can drastically strengthen the environmental and energy footprint of our homes and buildings,” said Batycki (beginning at 6:36 in the video).

“Not only can these solutions be provided locally, they can scale regionally and globally and they are an integral solution for addressing climate change,” she said.  “Lukas and his team have demonstrated an ability to communicate both the business and personal case for sustainability in the homes we live in and the buildings we occupy.”

Rob Stacey, a partner in Cover Architecture, accepted the award in Armstrong’s absence.

“Just over a year out of the gate and we’re getting recognized,” Stacey said. “That’s intimidating. If anything, it raises the bar. As much as our ideology supports sustainability in all its forms, we’re lucky to have good clients supporting us.  It is one thing to read about important ideas, but whether we have the guts to implement them is the true issue.”

Third prize: Jon Steinman of Deconstructing Dinner

The bronze award went to food journalist and activist Jon Steinman, the creator of the successful radio show and TV series Deconstructing Dinner.

“Through his radio events and contributions to countless organizations and initiatives, Jon has helped raise awareness of the challenges we face,” said Batycki,  “but more importantly the solutions available to build a robust secure regional food system.

“He has always placed a strong emphasis on participatory community engagement and has a talent for bringing global issues home.”

Accepting the award (4:12 in the video) Steinman announced that he had just received word that his Deconstructing Dinner TV show has received a Best of Canada award at the sixth annual Taste Awards in California.

“But this award in Nelson touches me the most because it was 10 years ago today that I arrived in Nelson from Ontario.”

He said it was his first experiences of Nelson that led to his “path of focusing on raising awareness around our food system, and it was this community that inspired me to pursue this path.”


Bill Metcalfe is a freelance journalist who covers Nelson City Hall for The Nelson Daily. To receive a regular twice-monthly email with links to his most recent city hall stories, send a request notification to

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