People and property paramount in mayor’s annual address to community
It is the people that make a city a great place to live.
And on Monday night in the annual city reception — municipal government’s year-end nod to the year that was — it was the people of city administration and the community that made up the heart of the mayor’s annual address.
Delivered at the Prestige Lakeside Resort, Mayor John Dooley called attention to the over 150 people in attendance for the event, to the work of every city department throughout Nelson.
“We are very fortunate to have a very experienced crew of people in Public Works, at our library, at our youth centre, in all of our facilities and at our City Hall,” he said. “They have a lot of knowledge and they help us out greatly, and without them we just wouldn’t be as good as we are.”
The city employs almost 200 people, Dooley explained, and they provide a lot of value in the work they do.
He pointed to the $1 million vegetation management program, the power pole replacement program — around 500 replaced this year — and a $2-million paving program as some of the worthwhile projects carried out this year.
In addition, continuing upgrades to the city’s infrastructure — upgrade to the lift station on waterfront — more re-lining of the city’s water mains, and the forthcoming upgrades to the city’s sewage treatment plant as major projects which city crews have carried out without fail.
The people of the city and living in the city are exceptional, Dooley explained, but the issue of how to house everyone is still on the front burner.
As a result, the activity at City Hall has increased as Development Services has gone from one part-time planner over a decade ago to several full-time staff in order to deal with the influx of development in Nelson.
“It seems like every other week someone is coming to City Hall to look at a new project,” said Dooley.
Currently, the city has 129 affordable housing units, 125 seniors units and 44 market units that are underway across Nelson, and the city also recently passed a resolution to support a 300-unit project at Granite Pointe Golf Course.
In addition, the city has committed $17,000 in its budget to look at a regional strategy around housing, in partnership with the regional district.
“I think we are going to find that’s going to be really important for us going forward,” he said.
“The City of Nelson has been carrying that ball for the last number of years and we are happy to continue working with BC Housing to deliver more housing for people in need, but I think its more important to have a regional strategy so that all communities can participate in helping alleviate some of the challenges that we have around housing and take some of the pressure off of the city of Nelson.”
Sports ambassador selected
The first ever sport ambassador award was handed out on Monday night with L.V. Rogers High School’s Matti Erickson taking home the honour.
He is the current high school record holder in the 1,500-metre junior race and recently won a gold medal at the Canadian Legion youth track and field championships.
The annual award is expected to go to athletes who have accomplished high standards in their sport in and around Nelson, as well as across the country.
Cultural ambassador named
Multi-talented performer Marilyn Hatfield was chosen as the city’s 2020 cultural ambassador.
Involved in the arts as a musician, dancer, dance instructor, event host, choreographer and drum instructor, Hatfield has been active in the arts in the city since 2010.
The cultural ambassador is expected to promote and represent the city on their travels through art, increasing the visibility and cultural reputation of the city.
The builder and designer Joern Wingender was given the Heritage award — handed out to those working in the area of renewal, promotion and heritage restoration.
Although he has been a contractor and active in heritage conservation for years, Wingender was recognized for his work at the city’s CP Rail Station.
Sustainability leadership awards
It was a three-way tie for the award this year with Kootenay Co-op radio, the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce and Kootenay Carshare all sharing in the honour.
There are five principles on which the voting — performed by city council — comprises, including resiliency, prosperity, robust ecosystems, healthy neighbourhoods and cultural strength.