2021 By-Election: Questions with Candidates #1

The City of Nelson is holding a by-election Saturday March 27th to fill the seat vacated by Brittny Anderson following her election as MLA for Nelson Creston.

There are three individuals running for the position on City council

The Chamber recntly engaged the canddates with 4 questions relaing to business focused issues. We will share these with our membership with 2 questions and answers per week leading up to the election on March 27th.  The answers will be posted on the news blog feed on the Discovernelson website, and through social media.

What is the most important factor to ensuring the success of small businesses in Nelson as the region works towards post-pandemic recovery in the coming months?

Nicole Charlwood:

I imagine your organization should be telling me the answer to this, sheepish grin. The ability to move around and be out in public, accept travellers openly, to gather with the community and access to supply chains are what I hear as some of the more immediate needs to keep doors open.

Many businesses have gone through some pains but have risen to the challenge of the times and made shifts that they want to keep post-pandemic. To hear so many say they are doing well financially through Covid has been a pleasant surprise. It has by no means been an easy run, and they look exhausted. Do we have data about those that are not doing well?

Brenton Raby:

I will answer with more than one factor. I will consider that the recovery from the accumulated costs of Covid-19 might take years.

The City must continue forward with any relevant point in the Economic Stimulus & Financial Stability 25 Point Action Plan.

The City must manage the budget and financial reserves in a prudent manner.

Nelson can continue to benefit from partnerships and collaborations that ensure Federal and Provincial economic stimulus grant funding is accessed. The City should continue to support its economic development partners as they pursue grant funding for their operations.

The City can ensure grant spending is done in in a transparent manner that accounts for future costs and due process while also being timely and efficient.

I believe the time is approaching when the City should consider as a Strategic Priority getting new data and projections on which to base its economic decisions.

An example would be the need for updated data on projected population growth. Population growth predictions are directly tied to the success of light industrial, office, small business, and neighbourhood development.

The City Master Plans, and the Colliers Report (2011) should be updated to consider Covid-19 and economic new realities. The OCP is set for review in two years.

Josh Wapp:

Stagnant wages.

What is the most important element of Nelson’s economic infrastructure? 

Nicole Charlwood:

I struggle to reduce anything to a single element. If Nelson is a livable city, culturally diverse, affordable with access to a clean outdoor lifestyle, residents, and the businesses they build or work for thrive. With many people working from home, water, sewer, and City work staples directly support small business and some of the impacts of Covid. 

If I pick one, I’d say Connectivity – As much as my partner and I fell in love with Nelson two decades ago and could see growing our family here, we would never have settled without the high-speed internet that had just gone in. Supporting telecommunications and transportation infrastructure to stay connected in our city, regionally and internationally, undoubtedly plays a significant role in our economy. Are we still talking about bringing rail service back?

Today, many businesses rely on bringing people here, and if that isn’t available, having a pivotable business model helps them be more resilient. I am grateful to the organizations offering transition training and supports. 

Brenton Raby:

I would like to highlight four elements:

  1. Baker Street and the Downtown Commercial Zone. The hub of transit, retail, offices, amenities, and community events.
  2. City owned buildings and facilities: City Hall, City Hall Plaza, Library and Civic Arena among others.
  3. City owned property and vacant land that might sustain directed development or sale.
  4. Nelson Hydro and its ability to supply power to accommodate development and provide support for the City of Nelson finances in a sustainable way. 

Josh Wapp:

Attracting people with high incomes who spend lots of money in our various shops.

The Chamber will have another two questions and answers next week March 19th.