Today’s Poll

In profile: Nelson Municipal Election 2022 — Ainsleah Hastings

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
October 9th, 2022

This is the eighth of a series of inside looks at the candidates for city council — both councillor and mayor — prior to the general municipal election on Oct. 15.

Biography: a closer view

I was born and raised in Nelson and most of my family live in the area. I recently returned after living on the West Coast for over a decade where I worked as a chef and manager for various non-profit and social justice-centered organizations.

I’m also a singer and an artist. More importantly, I’m a renter, and I’m a woman in my thirties. Most, if not all, past and present members of city council have been property owners, so I think it’s important to have a representative of the “renter class” sit at the table and contribute to the discussion and decision making process, especially as it relates to the housing crisis.

Transparency and creativity are vital points of my platform. I bring a fresh perspective, an eagerness to engage, and a willingness to listen to my community about what we collectively care about and the improvements we would like to see happen. I look forward to shaking things up.

I am implementing strategies to get young people and members of the renter class engaged in civic processes. In the 2018 Nelson election, 44 per cent of eligible voters did not vote. I am interested in understanding why that is, and increasing engagement in ways that empower all residents and non-profit organizations. 

During the pandemic, I was reno-victed from my apartment in Vancouver. In October 2020, I returned to Nelson with the misconception that it would be easier to find housing here, but found it quite the contrary. I spent the last two years struggling to find an affordable place to call home and soon discovered I was not alone in my struggle or my search. 

I am of the mindset that healthy, happy human beings create balanced, thriving communities. If the majority of our energy is devoted to seeking out shelter, then we have no energy left to put into our planet, or better yet, our community. Poverty, homelessness, addiction and mental illness all intersect in relation to our lack of secure housing. I want to work as one of the next members of council to collaborate on effective solutions to these issues with compassion and care.

Nelson has a vibrant arts, culture, and heritage sector. I see arts and culture as the collective expression of community values. I believe that these sectors should be supported by local government and factored into the decisions made by council. Artists cannot create without support and stability. Affordable housing and cost of living initiatives ensure that both emerging and established artists can afford to live in Nelson. 

Without adequate housing or studio spaces, there will be no artists. Without artists, there is no art. This is the cycle of gentrification. Rather than viewing art as an object to consume or own, we need to actively make space to foster creativity and nurture a welcoming environment for artists to not only survive, but thrive.

The Nelson Next Climate Action Plan is fantastic and I support it wholeheartedly. I also want to talk about ways in which low-income and houseless members of the community can contribute to our collective vision of the future in positive, sustainable ways that are mutually beneficial. 

“It is in col­lec­tiv­i­ties that we find reser­voirs of hope and optimism.” ― Angela Y. Davis  

Please reach out via email if you’d like to know more about me or my platform: – I respond to every message I receive.

Categories: General

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