2021 By-Election: Questions with Candidates #2

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 recently engaged the candidates with 4 questions relating 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 role should local or regional government play in fostering a strong and sustainable business climate?

Nicole Charlwood

Continue to work with the provincial government and regional initiatives to collaborate on things like train access and improved regional and active transportation. Fibre optic installation is another example of how the City can continue to play a partnership role in fostering a sustainable business climate. Services that can be done from here for people around the world are business drivers many of us don’t see. Having a diverse and robust bricks and mortar and office space, with the city’s eye on heritage and maintenance, is of course appreciated. I like, for example, the bylaw adjustments made for bigger outdoor patios, let’s keep that going, and I would love to see a more robust busking experience around outdoor restaurants.

Brenton Raby 

I support local government that acts within it’s authority and in the least intrusive manner possible. Decisions must happen in a transparent proper process and must be based on data and broad community input.

The City should be mindful and cautious of partnerships with for profit property developments.

The City needs to prioritize keeping the existing retail storefronts occupied and successful. The City should focus economic development and stimulus where it contributes to community values.

The City should maintain core services ensuring livability. This is especially important when attracting office and technology-based businesses to Nelson.

The City maintains effective support and collaboration with it is Nelson & Area Economic Development Partners and key sectors such as Arts and Culture, Learning and Education.

Rational and the least restrictive possible business regulations and fees.

Rational land use and zoning by laws that maintain and encourage small business, home based business, and light industrial development.

The city can foster and support entrepreneurial success by reviewing, amending, and eliminating some of it is dated and overly restrictive by-laws.  

I believe Nelson should not underwrite or support business on City land and must consider the reasonable limits on its authority defined in the Community Charter- restrictions on providing assistance.

That includes mobile food vendors on City streets or property. There are already existing opportunities if a mobile food vendor wants to partner and locate on private property. Also including the City operation of the Farmers Market outside of the Cottonwood Falls site. The City should be not involved in operating a market that goes beyond Food Security and includes artisans or prepared foods.

Nelson Council must prioritize supporting existing retail business zones to ensure storefront occupancy. The City must not create unintended realities it is competing with private businesses.

Josh Wapp

Ensure that there are enough low-income individuals who will be willing to work just about any job but have enough disposable income to keep the economy afloat; this is a job for an experienced and accredited Chartered Professional Accountant firm to work with local and provincial governments, as well as a team of economists, to properly calculate a proper cost/benefit analysis to determine the proper margins for each specific area. I would hazard a guess that, in Nelson, we would need more subsidized housing if we wish to retain employees in most sectors, save the newly expanding tech sector. 

What experience do you bring to the council table that will help strengthen small businesses in Nelson?

Nicole Charlwood

Many things are shifting. With Covid and other crises that will continue to demand our attention, we need to collaborate with many partners to adjust to the big changes we are facing. Collaborative by nature, I have organizational change management experience that is proving useful in these times in other organizations. I have studied and worked in economics, run small businesses, project managed multi-million-dollar projects with large teams of staff and multiple stakeholders. I am a good negotiator, can research and ask good finance questions. I am strategic and a leader at Board tables.

I like to collaboratively envision ideas and make them happen; there’s the juice for me. I love the fabric repurposing idea of Sean’s at Pawsitive Apparel and think combining it with designers and clothes makers could be a cool opportunity. What about a community forest designation to create more work?

I have been self-employed for decades and have connections at all levels of government. I know what it takes to succeed. Our networks and relationships make or break a business. Local governments are about infrastructure and should be at the table to support local bids and partnerships made inside and outside city boundaries. Small businesses are our biggest employer, it behooves us to pay attention and support a healthy business community. 

Brenton Raby

I was the Nelson Farmers Market Manager 2007-2010.

I operate a small business: Riverside Farm is a Park, Trail and Building Maintenance Contractor for the Regional District Central Kootenay.

I have completed a commercial property development in downtown Nelson.

I am currently developing an ice cream retail and cafe business downtown.

I have been a long-time participant in City Government. I have regularly attended council and budget meetings.

I have been a member of:

  • City Nelson Heritage Commission, 2008-2011.
  • City Nelson Advisory Planning Committee, 2012-2015.
  • City Nelson Board of Variance, 2015-present.

I am entrepreneurial and committed to small business success.

Josh Wapp

As a self-employed cartoonist for many years, I believe that I know the value of a dollar as well as having worked in various economic sectors: reforestation, construction, hospitality, retail and media arts. I also volunteer as a treasurer/secretary for a non-profit called “i-to-i” (Inland to Island) which has given me an “eagle eye” view of how a small operation can suffer gains and losses within the span of one fiscal quarter. I believe that “the buck stops here” is an apt term, meaning that without taking care of business first, no function in modern society can operate smoothly and efficiently.