Nelson Council Hears Direction From Economic Development Partnership

Nelson City-Hall

Nelson City Council heard from the brains behind the Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership not too long ago.

Nelson’s March 28th Committee of the Whole saw presenters breeze through goals, findings and both short and long term recommendations stemming from Phase One of the group’s efforts. The goal is to increase non-market affordable rental availability, specifically to support moderate-income and working families and people in the zero-vacancy community.

Nelson Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tom Thompson looks forward to progressing:

“All of the sector studies that we did with food and beverage, the retail sector and also labor, loaders, developers, there was clearly a need for some kind of workforce housing in this area. We’ve done a lot more research with M'akola (Development Services) leading some of that and The Chamber will continue to work hard….”

City Manager Kevin Cormack explains that the next part of engagement will help formalize plans like land disposition, growth planning and much more:

“Councils have a lot of you know different choices…. You know I always say if you dispose of one asset; what are you going to invest it in?’ So it could be making land available for housing or it could be a sewage treatment plant or whatever….”

One recommendation to create an entirely new housing entity heard concern from Councillor Jesse Woodward:

“We are a risk adverse organization considering we’re working with taxpayer money, so how do you protect the city…. If you’re basically asking the city to become a developer; how do you protect the city and the taxpayer from inherent risk?”

M'akola Development Services' Sandy Mackay explains that the City can be involved without leading a new housing entity and could instead support a suitable local corporation or non-profit as the developer. Another recommendation is expanding formalized government support for non-market affordable housing.

The NAEDP is a partnership of the City, Nelson Chamber, Community Futures Central Kootenay and RDCK areas E and F.