Nelson Municipal Election: Mayoral Forum

Oct 14, 2018 12:08 · 5002 words · 24 minute read politics Nelson

Mayoral Forum

2018-10-13 6:57:29 PM

These are incredibly loose notes, if you see something to be corrected, please let me know. There is much paraphrasing and very much point form. There was plenty of media at this event, so please also look elsewhere for more information.

Moderator: Glen Hicks (GH)
Candidates: Deb Kozack (DK), John Dooley (JD), Bernie Brown (BB)
Structure: All directed questions - no audience participation


  • Nice introduction from Glen about how the media is here for the people; well structured.
  • Such awful lighting

Credentials & Basics

  • GH -> DK: Why do you have the credentials to be mayor

    • 14 years on council
    • President AKBLG at times
    • CRT local government committees
    • Regional director
    • UBCM executive
    • Passionate
    • Ready to stand again and continue the work
  • JD:

    • 6 years in council, 9 years mayor
    • Federation Canadian municipalities
    • important to seek opportunity
    • dropped bar over the last number of years
    • can pick nelson back up
    • was silenced by glen
  • BB:

    • eyes closed
    • volunteer at many organisations that have helped this community for many years
    • born in Fruitvale, family from here
    • Doesn’t like the direction the city has taken in the last 20 years, outside the box
  • GH:

    • Glen goes on to compliment Dooley and vouch for his character, along with debs abilities
    • all qualified and capable “that’s why they’re here”

  • GH -> DK: What’s it like to be on the other side
    • Different to be held accountable for the entire council.
    • criticisms have been addressed
    • nelson a complex microcosm of world issues
    • we’re not facing “single issue” problems
    • diverse community doesn’t please everyone
    • GH: are you learning more?
      • Absolutely
    • GH: are you into it as much as before, you don’t seem to be as passionately campaigning
      • Absolutely, I am all in.
      • I haven’t had much time to campaign as I’m still doing the job of mayor
      • Nelson commands a lot of attention. Yesterday convened a meeting of local private land logging, to address wildfire.

  • GH -> JD: What’s it like to get mayoralty back
    • Feels very good, 4 years to sit back and take a whole fresh look at the job in particular and the job
    • worked in private sector and social areas, president jr. hockey time, build the ‘eco depot’
    • 8-10 mo: lots of peo— interrupted
    • GH: did you feel 4 years ago the race was stolen from you?
      • I felt that way for sure, I was going through a tough time at that particular time with the death of my brother

  • GH -> BB: why don’t you just run for council?
    • “Aim High”
    • retiring from clowning, I don’t want any more celebrity
    • I think there’s lots of issues to bring to light
    • GH: Not really serious about being the mayor
      • Now U am. first it was just a platform, now it’s something she wants

Water

  • GH -> DK: plentiful and safe supply of water
    • No secret our climate is changing, longer hotter summers, two of the worst wildfire season in our history, water will be an issue going forward.
    • Nelsons’ water master plan in 2005, continuing infrastructure renewal
    • Researching into the future how we’ll secure water
  • GH: why has your council not led a more strategic attack on wildfire mitigation: why are you being reactionary?
    • “You are wrong”, we do have an emergency ops. plan.
    • Plan in place for about 14 years
    • tasked glen mccharles (great man) in 2017
    • He’s moving forward, bringing together interested to do appropriate mitigations
  • GH: these planning docs for the future, they’re long term, is it hard to focus on the future; should we instead be focusing on here and now
    • Absolutely not. We do pay attention to here and now.
    • Council has worked collaboratively to address serious issues
    • Some are not happy with the speed, but we have full confidence that we are on path
  • GH -> JD: response
    • 30% of our water was being lost through our pipes
    • the master plan, the last 4-5 years, there hasn’t been more focus on 2nd and 3rd source of water. dissapointed
  • GH -> DK: fair?
    • No, we’re actively doing this. Sellus and CLearwater
  • GH -> JD: would you have been able to brough that online?
    • Yes
  • GH -> BB: is that something you can comment on
    • [No]

  • GH -> JD: You claim there’s a lack of leadership in nelson
    • Leadership style problem, need clear and decisive leadership at the helm.
    • Mayor needs to be connected to what’s going on
    • examples: never seen a full page ad from the bus. community why city hall hasn’t been listening
    • took pride in monthly visiting each department. making sure I had a bit of a bell weather about how things were going.
  • GH: quality of life, civic pride
    • We’ve lost our pride, absolutely.
    • Take a look today, any of our streets, half a million dollars of equip that can vaccuum up the leaves. we’re not proactive on community pride
    • Christmas lights
  • GH: restablish relationships with regional government
    • No relationship[!]
    • Completely collapsed
    • Transit and Healthcare in particular
  • GH -> Deb: response
    • Staff & Quality of Life: surprised to hear John say that, I disagree.
    • four years have built a collaborative relationship with council and city staff
    • I don’t make a point to interfere in day to day operations
    • we address problems that arise
    • gone through 4 collective agreements
    • excellent relationship with regional district
  • GH -> Dooley: transfer station from waterfront

    • DK: Most has been moved to Growman Narrows, but we need to work with the RDCK for a place for in town. Complications with contaminated lands and CPRail. Nelson leafs would like to put an eco depot on the waterfront.
    • JD: clear leadership at city hall can solve this. The site is getting worse.
    • GH why does this matter to civic pride:
      • JD: broken window theory
  • GH -> deb: too much?

    • I get positive emails all the time, a mural festival
    • festive lighting: contentious issue, the completion of hall street plaza is the first stage of a larger plan, 400 block of baker street will get lighting as part of a larger plan.
    • Cost us between 10-20k$ to do one block. We’re looking to partner with community groups. There’s no lack of civic pride at all, that’s a red herring
  • GH -> BB: lack of pride/leadership?

    • Yes.
    • “not too much about rd, trouble with transit and hospitals”

  • GH -> BB: Mental health, how do you deal with it
    • More compassion in town is needed
    • even the workers and police are very burned out
    • GH: how can you help? employ more people?
      • I don’t know if employing more people is it
      • more groups, more businesses taking on people… for… um..
      • GH: to engage more?
  • GH -> BB: affordable housing? How?
    • try and find out why there’s so many vacant business buildings and why could they no tbe used like..for.. housing
    • what is the problem? insurance money?
  • GH -> BB: food security: what do you mean?

    • due to our location, more effective as the community to grow in nelson
    • encourages mental health
  • GH -> JD: is this paramount? mental house / affordable housing / food security

    • Advocacy, directed by federal or provincial government.
    • we have a prime op. to advocate, and MLA in Victoria on the side of government
    • addiction we struggle in that area
    • we need compassion for the people in need and move the community forward in a position of respect
  • GH -> DK: mental health and food security: what have you done?

    • 4 years ago we had a plan to have a car 87, IH + NPD over if that was the best option, had fractured relationship between nelson and IH
    • Got everyone to the table, talked about the issues, how can we come together
    • created a collaborative approach lead by Rhona Park
    • analysed the issues and what we could do
    • GH: what’s happening:
    • Year 2, street workers working with businesses, street ambassadors, come together regularly to talk about what’s happening
    • Approach being adopted by other communities
  • GH -> DK: Food security

    • absolutely this is on the agenda, it’s on our sustainability planning
    • How are we going to balance food and cannabis; we’re defining that currently
  • GH: Bernie is here because of marginalised community; have you done enough?

    • I’m not sure about local tax payer money; tax property money was never meant to deal with it.
    • We’re doing as much as we can with provincial government.
    • We advocate all the time for more support, it’s rolling forward
    • more money for housing than for many years
    • takes time to build
  • GH -> JD: can you do more at the local level?

    • I’d have to agree with Deb
    • Limited taxation at the local level. Mental health and addiction issues are dealt with at other levels.
    • On the housing side, we can streamline our application processes. Build more suites.
    • Personal experience with the planning department; overwhelmed
    • we could easily add inventory

Wildfire Mitigation

  • GH: life and death issue, do you see the need to get on this? Are you prepared to do more over the next year?
  • DK: Absolutely. Whoever is in this chair will make sure these plans move forward
    • we’ve laid track, it’s going to happen with landowners and the province
  • GH: Why no fuel break?

    • DK: no jurisdiction
    • GH: it takes forever, it hasn’t happened
    • DK: —
    • GH: houses, viewscape, conflict, life and death conflict: would you be the mayor to make hard decisions to get fire breaks done
      • I think people would be foolish to say they wouldn’t support that
      • The education I’ve received is not as simple as clear cutting
      • Under-brush cutting above cemetery,
    • GH: people want action
      • I would draw parallel to say this, when i fire of large scale moves towards us, we need a good escape and rebuild plan.
    • GH: pushes his opinion!?!
  • GH -> JD: You’re working with the lumber folks, you’re connected, we understand, if you were the mayor in terms of accelerating the building of a fire break.

    • JD: any logging that happens all those factors are taken into account.
    • Nelson is in a tough spot.
    • It’s not fair to say we need an escape plan or a rebuild plan
    • We need to be on the provincial government to mitigate the west arm park mitigation
    • GH: how can you do this better?
      • THe ball has been dropped at city hall.
      • We need to be working with Anderson creek timber to harvest and clean it up
  • GH -> DK: you say we’re doing this

    • DK: we are, we have a plan in place, we have an excellent fire chief who’s developing his plans.
  • GH -> Bernie: what needs to be done?

    • Working with the province
  • GH -> DK: how many affordable housing units have been created in your term as mayor

    • Housing is on the way: 200 units moving forward
    • At least 100 are affordable, about 80, in old lakeside motel being revamped
    • KCF more units
    • Project at bottom of hall street
    • New government opened the gates
    • agencies secured funding, it takes time.
    • In the meantime we’ve been encouraging home-owners to open their suites
    • Laneway housing
    • Non-profit collaboration
    • When I’m living in a neighbourhood with a $600k home is not something we can control.
  • GH -> JD: some things are happening

    • I started them (laughter)
    • Project at hall and front wont be affordable.
    • Project across from the new grand is not affordable for those in need.
    • Ward st. place was very successful.
    • Student housing at Selkirk college.
    • Better job with laneway housing
  • GH -> DK: is laneway housing realistic

    • It depends on the home owner, private ownership, it’s up to the owner.
    • Currently working with selkirk to develop more student housing
    • There’s a spectrum of affordable housing, we need a variety
  • GH -> DK: Working poor, minimum wage, businesses, need people who can stay and have a life and get on the ladder, what are the units being created for them.

    • KCF development is one of those developments.
    • Subsidised by BC Housing, modest rents
  • GH: is it time for nelson to have a housing organisation and getting the city involved. would you get this done?

    • Of course. Housing affordability is not simply a nelson centric issue
    • we need to work with partners
    • BC Housing is on that now, it’s when the money become available.
  • GH -> JD: how can we get on top of getting people on the property ladder, how can you do a better job than deb.

    • laneway housing: envisioned at the time as being a space possibly above a garage that would rent for 500-600$/mo.
    • It’s not right to say the homeowner has full will to do whatever they want on their property
    • Some laneway housing built today will not be affordable for people to rent.
    • we need to furnish laneway housing that will accommodate this
  • GH -> DK: Response:

    • He’s mistaken that council can control rents.
    • we have no control over savings being passed onto rental, we need rental control by the province.
    • we have no control over rent increases
  • GH -> BB: How can we do this? WHat would you do?

    • Working with habitat for humanity
    • GH Not enough: what about more?
    • Jobs where people are building their own housing.
    • GH leads her
    • more recycling, more creative homes, not ticky-tack boxes that waste tax payers money
    • GH -> JD: is that realistic
      • various types of home built,
      • Nelson has complete control on the type of homes built
  • GH -> DK: final word

    • Personal decision of home owner, finally got the bylaw through (grimace by JD)

Cannabis

  • GH -> DK: You’ve been called airy fair on this, there’s been waffling, council wavered under your leadership, people are confused about what this city is doing with marijuana

    • The city shouldn’t take full responsibility (claps)
    • The province had this spongy ground of what was going to happen
    • people were keen, we were one of the few communities in the province to allow this to happen
    • We shouldn’t have been involved in the first place, but we had to do something, we brought in bylaws, other communities followed us.
    • People are paying for the business license, a valid business license in no way superceedes provincial/federal rules
    • It’s not our purview to shut them down.
    • It’s the purview of the province.
    • Business license are set to expire at the end of December anyway
    • The store fronts were asking what’s the deal, it’s up to the business
  • GH -> JD: you were never a lover of cannabis, is council on the right track?

    • I would agree with deb on it’s been a total quagmire, top to bottom.
    • Said that: recognising what’s taken place, we know as a community that it’s a big part
    • GH: You’ve come around John! (laughs)
    • The changing of the mind around laws is the same as other rules around the rest of the council
    • They should stay open if they’re selling medical
    • I would be advocating with Mike Farnworth, not UBCM
    • I’m an advocate for standing behind these businesses
  • GH -> DK: is it fair to say that?

    • Of course we’re working with the minister
    • Kevin Cormack has been on the “joint committee” working to move this forward
    • Problem with med. can. licensing is the federal government wont do it for another year.
    • The businesses need to get on the federal government
  • GH -> DK: People don’t like the cannabis leg. who’s the best mayor to handle the obvious security issue -> leading

    • We have strict bylaws, smoking bylaws will also apply to cannabis
    • Bylaw in place limits how many stores and where they can be
    • We have a no smoking policy.
    • It’s difficult to enforce if people don’t call them in
    • We here complaints, we ask if they call bylaw or the police, they say no. If we don’t report these things, we can’t deal with them.
  • GH -> JD: how would you handle this

    • Let the police do their job, enforce the law of the land
    • it’s the responsibility of the police
  • GH -> BB: what’s your position about the balance

    • support some vape lounges, smoking lounges, definitely not on baker street.
    • it’s important that parents feel they’re safe with their children
  • GH: should baker street be MJ Free?

  • JD: if the bylaws say no.

  • BB: brought up holy smoke

  • GH: should it matter? should there be control?

  • JD: there should be like cold beer stores…

  • DK: consumption vs sale is difference, the sale is allowed within the zones, a total of 5 stores, one can be on baker. It’s about the consumption that the streets are family friendly.


Crime & Baker St

  • GH: we had a death on baker, we now have private security on baker. On your watch as mayor in the last 4 years, has baker become less desirable
    • DK: No. I don’t agree with that, the streets are as vibrant and packed as they ever have.
    • Businesses has had record sales.
    • Our downtown is all in your face, all in one place.
    • Has there been an increase in some unwanted street behaviours? Yes, I’d agree with that.
    • We’re coming together as a community to address these behaviours
  • GH: there’s an argument that the street outreach is working, but is it a decadence to use them instead of NPD. Is it the wrong way to spend money?

    • DK: No. The street outreach program is not solely funded by nelson, we put in 15k/yr of the 100k/yr budget. Salvation Army and IH
    • Police are in the business of crime, that’s their job, not dealing with
    • You can’t criminalize addictions or poverty. (claps)
    • City council all of us want to be in a core that is respectful of everyone. Odd behaviours, theatrical folks, is a part of who we are.
  • GH -> JD: in the last 4 years, that it has become worse

    • JD: the music is gone from baker street, it’s hard to find a busker…
    • There’s an element that has infiltrated our streets that are not respectful. We’re doing good work on the street, but we’ve given allowances for people to take over, we’ve enabled them.
  • GH -> DK: is that fair?

    • Speaking with business owners, we go back to one of the earlier things I’ve said, if criminal behaviours is not reported to the police, we can’t do anything about it.
    • The street culture collaborative just met again, and we turned a full tie beat officer to the street.
    • We’re looking at expanding that
    • Working hard with social services industry to identify criminal element.
  • JD: we’ve had 4 years of this, we need to do more.

    • People are up to here
    • Small businesses are 1000$ away from being out of business, it’s not fair to leave them exposed
    • GH: what would you do about it?
      • JD: Police officers need the tools
      • Need a traffic bylaw with teeth, to deal with disrespectful
  • GH -> BB: In terms of the street, has it become worse?

    • I think it’s less safe, like deb just said, it’s a poverty issue. Addition related, respect related as john said as well.
    • People have very little respect for themselves because they feel hopeless, and in that regard are unable to give respect elsewhere.
    • GH: what would you do?
      • I started this campaign to let people know there is hope. You can get help without conventional means. Most systems don’t work for people like myself, I’ve had to do unconventional things myself.
    • GH: What are you suggesting?
      • Building on how to love ones self.
    • GH: You’d use public dollars?
      • Yes.
  • GH @Deb: There was the ad from businesses, what was behind that?

    • One of the owners I talked with, said that with a successful down town, the price of success is perhaps seeing more undesirable activity. Of course we should address it.
    • The first thing I did when I saw that letter, was to talk with the chamber of commerce, we discussed what was happening.
    • We had difficulties with the NPD, due to injuries, etc.
    • QUickly after that the full time beat officer was reinstated, that was the [???] of the larger attempt to bring the community together in a compassionate way.
  • GH: there’s a perception amongst business that you’re neglecting the concerns of the business community. You can’t be all things to all people: the businesses are feeling left behind

    • We’re also funnelling money into the downtown master plan.
    • Social issues we’re facing, when we speak about this, we speak to the minister, we need their support.
    • we have over 1400 business licenses we distribute every year, not all the businesses reside on baker. The sector is as diverse as the rest of the community.
    • Folks gather on baker, we invest heavily in all businesses
    • GH: Is baker the heart of the town
      • Of course.
  • GH -> JD: Is this a fair?

    • My style is to be out there an understand the challenges out there.
    • When 42 businesses got together came to me about the lower end of hall street, the mayor’s quote said “every 70 years we have a project like this, they’re the lucky ones”
    • JD doesn’t like how the project happened. We were clear that they should’ve been working 7days/10hrs
    • Short time hours and wages were bad for businesses.
  • GH -> DK: John is saying he has this overseeing golden eye, what is your sense?

    • The top end of baker was much easier to complete. We were not dealing with the ministry or CPR, and we weren’t dealing with DFO and water. All of those things had to come into play to get the bottom part done.
    • Our staff and planners have worked hard with local business, going through infrastructure rebuilding you will run into glitches. The businesses has been part of this loop.
    • My style is a bit different, at the beginning of the year in January and February, I took the time to meet with local businesses. I don’t frequent businesses because it feels awkward for me to take their time away.
  • JD: The fact is equipment was sitting unused, the contracts were released very late in the year, it’s not right to tackle a project without a timely manner. It’s had a serious.

  • DK: that is absolutely false. We would have not gotten the money from federal government if we were not prepared. Just because we have a project we want to complete, doesn’t mean we can get the contractors on site instantly.


Salary Increases

  • GH -> DK: Mayoral salary increase. You were the majority during the council, that seemed to reject the recommendation of the committee. The committee said x, you approved 10k more. What’s your take.

    • Maybe to you the optics don’t look good.
    • Yes you’re correct, the increase is for the next council.
    • There was thoughtful debate about how we can attract more folks to the job.
    • Demands of the job, etc, etc.
    • GH: WHy did you overrule your independent committee
      • I didn’t allow it to happen, you allow debate to happen.
      • GH: why didn’t you stop them?
      • The position of mayor has turned into a full time position, it’s a position of some seriousness.
      • GH: Why did we go to 59k
      • It happened because council had a discussion and a vote was taken. It was a surprise to me.
      • There was not 100% agreement, there was thoughtful debate.
  • GH -> JD: Why have you been so critical?

    • I worked full time for two terms, being the mayor is not a full time job. (audience boos/murmers loudly)
    • The reality is an independent committee came back with an increase, but not only was it ignored, but it was moved beyond that.
    • “Lets put this into a context of a liveable community”
    • GH: it’s only 10k
    • BB: that’s more than I make a year (she actually makes 12 she says)
    • JD: if I’m elected mayor I’ll ask council to bring this back.
    • In that document it’s very clear on the 2nd last page, almost everything that was agreed to in every other community had “no” all the way down; 26 other communities were not getting this stipend.
  • GH -> BB:

    • I see more about money and career and serving people.

(BB leaves, needs a bathroom break, this was the expected end time of 830)


GH: Asks them to stand up, plays a word association game until BB gets back.

This was difficult for me to keep pace with, so I’m missing some answers.

Trudeau

  • -> DK: Liberal
  • -> JD: India

Tommy Douglas:

  • JD: Great Man
  • DK: Sask

Tories: - DK Brian Mulroony

Police Chief

  • DK: Pual Burkheart
  • JD: Dan m–

Pan Handling

JD: some days it’s good DK: poverty

Potholes

JD: Red Paint

Nelson Leafs

DK: Hockey JD: Most winning team

NDP

DK : John Horgan JD: Good

New business

DK: Tech. JD: Multitude of opportunities


  • DH: Wants to talk about CORE
  • Waiting for Bernie to come back

  • GH -> DK: are you ready?

    • A whole month earlier feels like it’s kind of been sprung on the whole province. It’s been tricky.
  • GH -> JD: How’s it been?

    • A lot better than when it was snowing.
    • Many people are not available or aware. It’s been so regimented that it’s tricky this year.

CORE

  • GH -> DK: This CORE group, this composite group, DEB what do you make of them running as a slate? Did you cause this?

    • I don’t think it has anything to do with me, I think I have a strong case of leadership
    • The CORE group is curious, there’s been a couple weird things about this election. I’m surprised there’s a need for a party in our small community.
    • It seems to me John is part of this group even though he’s not listed.
    • GH: perhaps it’s unfair to call it a slate? you can’t tell me there hasn’t been groups / slates before
    • DK: I think there are people who are dead against it and those who are in support of it. I’m curious to see how voters vote.
    • I think it’s very curious about this election, on how people view community, we have 4 candidates who’re outside city limits running for council.
    • Do you think CORE is there somehow to depose you?
      • Yes! They said they were. Their initial statements were that this council has done a terrible job.
      • TO say this council hasn’t done enough is one thing, but to say we need to be deposed is another.
  • GH -> JD: Was it a deliberate distancing or was it fake?

    • No not at all, II felt it was really important to have an independent mayor, I’m not affiliated, I don’t think there’s a politician in here who has my button on.
    • Yes I met with core, but I didn’t have an interest in joining.
    • I met with every one of them.
  • GH -> DK: Do you feel abandoned by the leaving council-people?

    • No, it’s indicative of people moving on in their lives.
    • People are in their prime earning years, they need to think about earning a living
  • GH -> BB: WHat do you think?

    • I’m going to reserve my opinion until I investigate more
  • JD: there are many new rules, it allows

  • GH -> DK: do you agree with that Deb?

    • I don’t think it’s necessary positive that they’re running as a group. Slates in the past have not done well.

Style & Council

  • GH -> DK: there’s been a lot of great talk from your council but not enough action?

    • DK: one of the things I’m proud of of the last 4 years is that we all came together as diverse group. We’re working as a team, I encourage solid debate and discussion.
  • GH -> JD: I detect from your campaign that you feel your style is different, what is different?

    • A couple things come up, I’ve watched closely about 6-8 months, about what’s been deferred back to staff.
    • I’ve talked to staff, and worked with deb as councillor, mayor is a whole different ball game.
    • I’d meet with them at the beginning of the year, and say here’s what’s important, we come prepared, and we only bring conversations to the table that are new to the subject.
    • I’m a stickler for time and that people come prepared.
    • CoW is not decision making, once a month there’s a decision making meeting.
    • If you defer, the city staff needs to fill in the gaps.
  • GH -> DK: is that a fair criticism?

    • No, what I would say is that there are some decisions that council makes, such as a bigger carport that gets made on council, more complex issues that we deal with such as the cannabis bylaw, the short term rental bylaw, the new initiatives that are coming forward, when those are sent back to staff for further review it’s because council has had a discussion that needs to be sent back for a longer lasting decision.
  • GH -> BB: how would you envision your style of leadership

    • Pro talking stick, certainly into consensus.
    • Should decisions be made quickly within that context due to costs?
      • No decisions should not be made quickly
  • GH -> DK: what is amazing about JD

    • He’s an amazing singer
  • GH -> JD: What’s amazing about Deb?:

    • Lot of respect for anyone who steps up to run for office. I have a lot of respect for deb koazk
  • GH -> DK: Re: john

    • I respect both of them, they work really hard for our community. We all have different visions. John and I have different styles for sure, but we have singing in common; we’ve even sung together.
  • JD: Re Bernie:

    • Staggering letter to the editor in the paper, so much respect for the courage she’s shown.
  • DK: Re Bernie:

    • She brings a lot of joy, I know things have not always been easy, but what she’s exuded is joy, generosity and giving.

Overall I thought that was pretty interesting. although I did find that GH was a little bit too harsh at times, he interrupted Kozak far more than he should have and treated John a little nicer than her. It seemed to be a bit obvious at times. He was rapid fire and hard hitting, it seemed like a common adversarial style.

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