A former mayor for the City of Nelson is excited to see the new council get to work.
“I think this new council will do a fantastic job,” says former Nelson mayor Deb Kozak. “I think this council has a lot of potential to make good strides for the city.”
Kozak says even though it is a new council the issues facing them are very similar to what they have been for the past eight years.
“When my council was first elected the issues around homelessness, addiction, mental health and housing were top of mind,” says Kozak. “I am pleased to see that some of the implementations that my council did are still in effect today, such as the outreach workers on the street. We brought back the beat officer as well.”
Kozak says it is important to note that while some old issues persist, it’s not because councils have failed to address them.
“Some of the issues in the past are still an issue today and that is not due to a lack of effort,” she says. “I think these issues are complex and strategies are built around it in increments. I think if council is working together, and cooperating, on the right path then progress is made.”
Kozak says although this council will be carrying on some of the work from the past two councils they face more challenges than ever, especially with global issues.
“People have said that Nelson is like a bubble,” she says. “We’re not a bubble anymore, all of the global issues like war and climate are here as well. One of those, for example, wildfires.”
Kozak says she is aware of what lies ahead for the new council and partnerships between the city and the RDCK is going to help foster and solve some of the current issues going forward.
“I think if this council can cooperate more robustly with the regional district then some of these issues can be helped,” she says. “The housing crisis, for example, there are several pieces of land outside Nelson that can be used to develop to mitigate the crisis.”
Kozak says four years might not be enough time to get all the work done, but she is confident in the new council and mayor to start resolving the larger issues.
“I feel this council has a great opportunity to make good strides,” she says. “I think they will do a great job, and will work fantastic together.”
Kozak served as Nelson’s first female mayor from 2014-18, succeeding John Dooley. She was also a councillor for many years before that.