Today’s Poll

In profile: Nelson Municipal Election 2022 — Tom Prior

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
October 7th, 2022

This is the sixth 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

Tom Prior is a West Kootenay entrepreneur, environmental and indigenous activist.

He was an Ecology/Music student at Selkirk College, spent six years as a tree planter, then a back-to-the-land organic farmer. For 24 years he owned a retail/wholesale clothing/jewelry store in Nelson — Mountain Pass Imports and Flatbow Lake Survival and Fashion — on the corner of Baker and Ward Street.

You can go as a window into some of his efforts to help with environmental degradation in the area. He also has four short videos at on why he is running for mayor.

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?

For two decades Nelson’s political pundits knew the cost of doing business was going up with or without the current rate of inflation. They ignored that fact and precious time was wasted to implement important infrastructure projects such as waste management.

Organic waste management, in particular, should have been started 10 to 20 years ago. As a result of that inaction, our current cost to build infrastructure and equipment to manage waste is three or four times now.

Mayor and council should not have ignored this important function of services. We are now killing more bears in Nelson than necessary because of very poor waste management.

The cost of borrowing money in the last 10 to 15 years has been at historical low levels. Our city managers and council did not take enough advantage of that fact.

I do not believe inflation is inevitable. We now live in a global economy that dictates many aspects of our environment and economy.

The city should begin to prepare citizens for higher food costs and encourage people to produce organic food, with tax breaks in and near our wonderful city. There could be real organic gardens/greenhouses at all our schools. This in turn would educate our youth with earth sciences.

• Compared to its sister cities of Trail and Castlegar, Nelson has double or triple the workforce of those municipalities. Part of the reason for that expanded workforce is that Nelson has its own police force, utility company and public library, to name a few. Should there be a move to change the way those services are delivered, or do we need to support them with more resources?

I believe all or most of the services in Nelson could improve efficiency. We need to support all of them with increased intelligence/wisdom, not necessarily more money.

As a 25-year small business veteran of Baker Street, I came to realize our small businesses in the downtown core were short changed with services. They, for one, get no recycling services. Why?

Our unique independent retail/restaurants and other businesses are second to none. We must support them better; they bring tourists from all over the planet and they are the heart of our edge against inflation.

• 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?

I do not think we can afford to use that vast piece of real estate as a private airport indefinitely.

• Climate change is affecting every area of society and how we conduct business, as well as making us aware of how we consume resources. How can the city do its part to reverse its effect, and move the city further (and faster) down the road it is already on to becoming carbon neutral?

I have been involved as an environmental advocate for over 30 years.

Myself and friends have protected thousands of hectares of “ancient/old growth forest” in the West Kootenay. Our efforts stopped old growth logging in the very important mountain caribou, grizzly, wolverine in the Westfall, Incomappleux, Big Mouth river drainages.

We also stopped B.C. Hydro and the B.C. Liberals from damming and privatizing 100’s of B.C. creeks with “independent power projects.” The old growth forest we protected continues to sequester tons and tons of CO2.

The city can move quicker to carbon neutral by electing me as mayor of Nelson.

Please see and watch B.C. Water Wars and other short documentaries I have produced to bring about change that will ensure future generations are not crushed by our current life style.

Categories: General

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