Today’s Poll

In profile: Nelson Municipal Election 2022 — John Buffery

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
October 12th, 2022

This is the tenth 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

For the past 15 years I have had the privilege in serving you, the public, in the provincial government at a senior level where I write risk management standards, policy and procedures to protect public safety.

For 18 years prior to that, I owned a successful corporation consulting in mountain safety risk management for feature films throughout the world. I am one of the original founders of Baldface Lodge, starting with sweat equity to build the largest cat-riding lodge in the world. 

I bring my international exposure and experience to focus on our beautiful city of Nelson, which has supported me with a healthy, happy and successful career. 

I want to unify our community to engage in a high quality, healthy, expressive life, where everyone contributes to Nelson’s beautiful and progressive culture.

The following are a series of questions posed to all candidates:

• With the cost of doing business increasing for everyone, including the City of Nelson, how does the city keep budgets in municipal departments from rising annually by the rate of inflation, or is the situation inevitable?

Climate change is the first lens that must be applied to all our informed decisions. We will be fiscally responsible as we ensure the priority of Nelson’s current climate change action plans as our foundation in making informed decisions.

With further building permits in the city, an adoption of the Material Carbon Emission Guide will give us tools to promote best practices addressing embodied and operational carbon emissions.

I will support further incentives to promote safe infrastructure for pedestrians, bikes and e-bikes; the latter to be available equitably in our community. Our biggest and best green energy asset will be to continue the enhancement of our existing Nelson Hydro infrastructure and storage opportunities. 

Climate change has a strong negative effect on our mental and physical health. We will bolster the health and fire resilience of our urban forest and transitional wild forest green belt on our city periphery to improve fire resilience and support our beautiful community. 

• The Nelson Airport occupies a significant piece of real estate in the city. How should the airport be viewed and should it, or shouldn’t it, be kept?

Flat, green space at the waterfront is a commodity the city must protect as we look to the future. It’s challenging to predict what technology will bring, but keeping the airport open as transportation infrastructure is an important asset for Nelson’s public connectivity and emergency access. 

The green space either side of the runway at the Nelson Airport could be managed with native plant life to support small scale habitat values, that will not impact aviation safety. A better focus for riparian remediation is to reclaim the brown field area of CPR and post-industrial lands surrounding Cottonwood Creek.

I would lead the city in a process to reclaim this landscape, create recreation and habitat opportunities, and build community gardens bolstering food security for our area as did our pioneers.

• Every community and province has been hard hit by the economic restrictions enforced during the COVID-19 pandemic. What (further) city-led initiatives can be reasonably undertaken to stimulate the local economy?

One of the hardest hit sectors of Nelson’s unique business economy is our retail, restaurants, services and associated tourism.

The vibrancy of Baker Street and close by laneways are a vulnerable asset, as I can attest from watching the decline due to recession in the1980’s. There is opportunity to expand into our alleyways for retail and businesses. The laneway on the north side of Baker Street should have a name so people can reference an address.

We will create a cohesive community integrated with a celebration of people supporting more festivals like the Streetfest, winter carnival and festivals where visitors and locals mingle.

When a Marketfest comes to Baker Street, let’s ensure we open the tents to the retail doorway, so vendors and storefront retailers both benefit from the influx of people.

Rotation of the festivities to both ends of Baker Street and side streets will ensure a better distribution of benefit from these events.

For more detailed information visit my website:

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