Sunday, 18 September 2016

City Hall Contracting for Nelson Commons

Following is a presentation to the Committee of the Whole (COW), 19 Sep. 2016, regarding a Nelson Commons Housing Agreement Bylaw between the City and Nelson Commons (NC). Clarifying thoughts have been added for those only vaguely aware of its origin and purpose.

Eyes-wide-shut - the City now is a part-time, unpaid contractor for a commercial, privately owned real-estate development, to act as NC's real-estate agent for 3 condos over the next 25 years. The proof is in the doing - while the City's 26-page bylaw! - fashioned just for this purpose! - warns itself of the very same realtor-thing! Oh, City Hall!

Doing: to the tune of even paying $1 and $10 respectively for the privilege. As far as can be ascertained by outsiders - the City's participation is of no benefit whatsoever to it - even less Nelsonites in general - but certainly of time- and money-saving convenience to NC.
These 11 bucks may seem insignificant - but the principle and amount of tax-payered work by the City are not insignificant at all. Time and energy more appropriately applied to community-issues.

The 3 condos as focus of City Hall's inappropriate work for NC - now routinely referred to as "affordable housing" - whatever that means - even "starter homes" - are a long and winding road from the Vancouver City Savings Credit Union (Vancity) originally making its financial participation in this condo-venture contingent on 3 condos sold as SOCIAL HOUSING - period! NC was quick to give this a tree-hugging Co-op spin. And it worked: City Hall got itself hooked to appear socially conscious - with NC promptly changing tack as soon as Council had agreed to work all this.

Over time nobody at City Hall ever asking - publicly anyway: How did we get to be their gofer?

With the City ostensibly keeper of the keys - NC sold 2 of the 3 condos on terms originally put forward by itself - approved over a year ago by Council: without them doing much homework on this at the time.
More recently realizing the advantages of homework after all, thus finally, belatedly putting this bylaw together - with a lot of to-and-fro to definitively lock-in resale terms 'til kingdom come - has resulted in an untidy structure: 2 condos on these terms and 1 condo on whatever. The latter still dithered over until "... brought back to Council in October 2016."

In the future one set of terms conceivably becoming more advantageous over the other shows a remarkable lack of foresight and social consciousness. Very untidy indeed: fairness and all that! But simply remedied by applying the same terms to all 3 condos. Now!
No matter what/how - all coming/still to come from much additional tax-payered work for ever more people at City Hall - of benefit only to NC.

Not addressed in this bylaw: what - if anything - is to follow if the income of buyers rises - on/under the table - to above the stipulated income-ceiling? Surely to be expected, what with people usually striving to improve their finances.
The City's Request for Decision does state - under Benefits, without definition - that buyers may "... potentially move up the continuum as their circumstances improve." Regardless of the possible nature/volume of this continuum - seemingly moving up in their cheap condos!
What a deal!
And who's to know? Will City Hall surf bank/tax-statements - and if it does find out: What?

Also left unaddressed for these condos - openly at least - are their surely significant strata-fees. Will the owners pay no, partial or full fees? Thus not at all, somewhat exactly or completely responsible to the whole?

But City Hall will be instrumental in foreclosures! More odious yet - I quote the bylaw: The owner (here NC) acknowledges that a breach of the occupancy restriction ... may be a breach of the City's Zoning Bylaw which is punishable by fine and imprisonment under the Offence Act.

City Hall has no business in any of this now and in the future, when without fail more issues will present themselves - rather be presented. Tax-payers ought to voice strong opinions on the City allowing getting sucked into this nonsense on their dime - literally and figuratively.

Would the City be involved at all if NC didn't have the umbilical Co-op connection?
Bottom-line: NC - a curiously unfinished-looking, chaotically unattractive condo-development, in the heart - poor heart! - of the city yet - is an incorporated company ostensibly separate from the Co-op. Yet over time the Co-op's tree-hugging halo has been tightened more and more around the City's decision-making consciousness.

And every squeeze more successful, starting with the previous Council.
The most recent example being adoption of this bylaw over dinner.

Pierre et Gilles
Berndnaut Smilde  

Wednesday, 24 August 2016


"Dr. Thomas Edge says it is very difficult to tell for sure if E. coli at a beach is caused by geese or not."
Also "... geese usually drop droppings on the sand along the waterline ..."
                                                               Nelson Star, Aug. 24, 2016

Which they, ducks and gulls do copiously - have been doing for many years - along the waterline of the Lakeside Park beach. Usually at night, while resting there. Meaning: they then move little - and stuff piles-up!
Do geese dream?

As we don't seem to have markedly more geese now than in previous years - provided E. coli testing is done using the exact same methods under the exact same conditions in the exact same locations - the question needing to be asked is: if geese are the source - what caused the sudden change to their innards at this particular time? In relation to last year when - ostensibly! - conditions and process were the same. And we didn't have this spike!

It seems improbable that an E. coli spike materializes out of nowhere - in one specific location yet - without a specific contaminator. And if human participation is eliminated - how difficult can this be to figure out?

This observant non-scientist is in the park very early most mornings - the experts are neither nor.

Droppings along the waterline usually disappear soon after beachers arrive with kids: splashing/running about. Rain and wavelets will cause the same. So - obviously a sizeable amount of (dispersed) droppings stays in sluggish shallows close to the shore - what with the process repeating daily as long as weather/water-conditions don't change drastically.
Is that where testing takes place, Erin Brockovich? Also comparing year-to-year population-numbers, movement- and feeding-patterns? Which we probably don't because we don't have them?

Once (and for all) determined that geese indeed are the culprits: why not just get a City worker to pooper-scoop the contaminants along the shoreline every morning!
10 minutes!

In the meantime - we're left uncomfortably informed of seemingly spotty-dodgy field- and lab-work. Everybody's guessing! Or generalizing: Dr. Edge is not local.
How about the old scientific comparison/elimination/isolation-thing!

And while you're at it - how about making feeding of all waterfowl illegal - with stiff fines attached!

"Do something about it!"    

Saturday, 13 August 2016

1780 Bucks? Seriously?

When last year the Board of the Chamber of Commerce generated a resolution towards an Aggressive-Panhandling Bylaw - this was to directly benefit downtown merchants. Only. As much seems to in Nelson. An official Request for Decision was put to Council, without any evidentiary documentation whatsoever backing a need for such bylaw.
After much toing-and-froing the Request didn't make it; the bylaw-proposal was shelved with a diplomatic let's-wait-and-see.

Initially bylaw-focused - then going much further - discoveries/deliberations manifested the Nelson Street Culture Collaborative: the pooling of local energy from diverse sources to deal with a much larger issue - of which panhandling here is only a small part.

This group formulated a plan to be found in

City contributes $10.000 to street outreach worker project
                                               Bill Metcalfe, Nelson Star, Aug 11, 2016,

with funding-needs of $100.000 for two outreach-workers plus one year's admin-costs.
The effort is commendable and will be of positive impact on many levels.

Contributions thus far:
Salvation Army - $40.000
Nelson Committee on Homelessness - $36.000
City of Nelson - $10.000
Nelson Community Services Society - $5.000
Total - $91.000

There also are an embarrassingly scraped-together-seeming $1.780 from the "Nelson business community" - still leaving the goal short of $7.220. Reasonably/logically to be sourced within that "community". Since they - next to focus-groups in the streets - may ultimately directly benefit more than most from the Collaborative's work.

Taking - Yes/Giving - No! Coming from a place of entitlement: as a whole Nelson's business-community has not been known for generosity. Even when - as here - tax-deductible!

Shop Local! Seriously?


Shame On You!
claus schunke    

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Nelson Library - Don't Read (This)!

While cruising the shelves you come across a book you've been meaning to read for some time! A treat! But as it's rather thick you need to decide before you Borrow it: Will I actually have enough time to finish this within 3 weeks?
Because you can't take for granted that you will be able to Renew and Renew it. If someone places a Hold on what you're now reading: you can't Renew! Thus may not be able to find out how it all ends. Surprise and major bummer!!!

Patron A - with the Hold - seems more important than Patron B - currently enjoying this book. Regardless of the latter's reading-pleasure/habits, time available, even ability to read with ease.

Patron A can Borrow 20 books with an Individual Card (IC) - even 60! with a Family Card (FC) - and run 10 Holds concurrently. So he/she couldn't be made to wait for this particular book to be returned until Patron B chooses, within a time acceptable (not imposed) to everybody? Ironically now - with this Hold come through - A has to read it immediately because - be still, poor heart! - Patron C has a Hold on the very same book! And the beat goes on! Speed-reading! 


But that's the system, and questioning it has resulted in desk-staff's improvised, evasive reasoning, defensive shrug
How did who when come up with 10 Holds, Borrowing 20 or 60 items, Renewing twice and the muddle all this keeps creating? Certainly not based in inherent need - but need devised! 

While the Library on one hand encourages pleasures to be found in reading its books - on the other it undermines those pleasures.

Bluntly put: patrons actually may not be an issue as readers alone - ostensibly the Nelson Library's raison d'etre - but money-makers as well! 
Like - you will finish your book regardless of somebody's Hold and just pay the fine: 30 cents per day may not seem like much - but 3 bucks for 10 days?

It would be interesting to know how much money the Library is making in fines. Imagine Patron A with Holds on books 10 patrons are currently reading.....
Deliberately using fining to steadily substantially add income to the detriment of reading-enjoyment would seem tacky.

Being allowed 20 even 60 items - deep breath! - while having 10 Holds - encourages misuse of the system, confusion, with lots of books around the house not returned when due: I mean who can keep track of and has time for 60 anyway!
So here comes more money: overdue is good!

This way over the top set-up keeps many books out of circulation for those enjoying the choice, the discovery of something unexpected on shelves.

In addition to ...

Approximately 1700 books in Fiction/Mystery are shelved spine-up, mostly hidden so low(est) that they really are out of circulation - unless the nimble patron literally crawls along the floor and pulls out books one-by-one to identify title/author. Mind you - if you are not nimble enough: you could let a staff-member do the crawling for you!

Clearly - the Nelson Library has done much to tech-up, this taking lots of focus, energy, time - and oh money!
Altogether maybe too much of the big-city/with-it attempt. Endemic to Nelson.

So - to increase reader-focused blood/book circulation, how about:
A 3-weeks item can always be Renewed once (instead of twice maybe).
A Hold means the item will reliably be held for the patron(s) next and next in line, once it has been returned anytime within guaranteed 6 weeks.
There is no bumping-up/down!
3 Holds are allowed (instead of 10).
There is no Suspending a Hold: having it "frozen" and at a convenient time re-entered somewhere in the waiting-line of other Holds. Either in or out - Hold or let go!
A patron with an IC can Borrow 10 items altogether (instead of 20).
A patron with an FC can Borrow 20 items altogether (instead of 60).
Another shelf is added on top of shelf-units, with a moveable single-step in every aisle.

All this - to have the Nelson Library first and foremost function as a Smallishtown library for folk enjoying a good read!

The rest they can Google!

The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.

                                                                             John Wooden, Coach   

Friday, 29 July 2016

A Movie Without Popcorn - A Life Not Lived!

Nelson Civic Theatre launches $3-million fundraiser for more screens
                                           Bill Metcalfe, Nelson Star, Jul. 25, 2016

The Civic Theatre's presentation to Council - asking for a letter of support for accessing possible funding-sources - promises nothing less than a new world-order. In this here iddy-biddy Smallishtown. Aiming to impress with a lot of word-wash - while backing the attempt with remarkably little common sense.
A breathtaking disconnect from the reality of Nelson-As-Is. And what an enthusiastic 3 mill could actually achieve towards what's not so Civic about Nelson.

I will look at 2 comments to this Star story instead of the presentation as a whole. Simpler - while no less telling! 

1. Comment - Anne DeGrace
..... creating something that is professional, forward-thinking, responsive to the community, and enjoyable for citizens across demographics. The people involved in developing the Civic Theatre care about its future, and about Nelson. I think it's time to trust goodwill and good thinking. And increased sales of popcorn!

Actually this whole thing is not at all responsive to the community; it is not about the community period but only about, for and responsive to a single demographic.

DeGrace - with more glib predictability: If the grant money is to be awarded somewhere, why not have it come to Nelson? While building a positive community resource, we'll create short-term and long-term employment and a stronger local economy.

The old employment-creating thing! How many jobs? 
Just adding more screens doesn't automatically mean more people will come more often and buy more popcorn. Good thinking?

But if - once installed - more screens-means-more-money doesn't - how about turning them into temporary homeless-shelters! Free popcorn and a large coke for the out-of-the-rain demographic? Goodwill? For sure - what with the Civic's inexplicable charitable tax status!


2. Comment - Dan Pipe
I quote verbatim - typos, poor grammar/syntax and all as is common today: The whole idea is to build our community, shared expeirence(clapping when a movie is good, groaning when its bad). the smiling faces the interactions with different people you might never see really. Oh, Facebook commenting!

Both he and DeGrace go on about the movies as a community builder. Audience participation. Maybe get laid after! Full-throttle audience participation has only worked once in movie-history - The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Mind you, not at the Capitol where - a few Halloweens ago - audience members - once there - were told by very stiff staff not to throw anything, because they had nobody to clean-up after.
Bummer - as there I was: psyched with/because of a Rocky Horror neophyte-friend, rolls of toilet-paper, Bics and toast! Having learned my part well in midnight-showings at the huge University Cinema in Berkeley
There's a light....! And cleaning-up a non-issue.

Anyway - there are people who don't want to community-build at the movies but just watch a film undisturbed: no discussions; no loud smart-mouth expressions of approval/disapproval; no noisy scrabbling at the bottom of popcorn-buckets; no mindlessly repetitious bucket-to-mouth feeding all-around; no bovine open-mouth crunching; no popcorn smell; no cell-phone lights/ring/talk!

No nothing - just me in the movie!



How much exactly does watching Transformers #7 currently cost on a smallish - soon even smaller - screen at the Civic? Aside from the membership-fee: 1 ticket, 1 always-at-least-large popcorn/coke?
If popcorn sales already have to do the heavy lifting - how many more way-overpriced non-local jumbo-buckets will need to be sold to meet expenses when?
And create a stronger economy in the process.

How many paid-up members does the Nelson Civic Theatre Society actually have?

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Nelson: Its Econo-Ducks In A Row!

"In that little bay there are ducks and all kinds of waterfowl, so we could have a peaceful park where people could sit and watch the ducks".
Mayor Kozak in
A lakeshore park at the mouth of Cottonwood Creek?
Nelson Star, 15 July, 2016

In theory. But a park is a success if used by many people for a variety of reasons. If many people went there for its peaceful ambience - it wouldn't be peaceful for long. And what with its close proximity to the Dog Doo Dump - it quickly would become an extension of it. Altogether better - because exercise-conscious dog-owners could then drive right up to it: just open the car-door and off Stomper goes!
With ducks and all other waterfowl driven from the area just like that and for good: bunches of yappy dogs on the loose good boy! and no meter-maids to spare!


So the tremendous costs of turning the area into a park: landscaping, paths, benches, lighting, toilets and overall continual maintenance - after those of a necessary initial clean-up - would be disproportionate to its benefits. For dog owners YES in a big way - but not for the majority of Nelsonites - and ducks.

While turning this area into an RV-park/camp-ground makes economic sense. Both distinctly separate, while sharing the same facilities. What about renting out tents with basics on fixed lots?
The grounds' size, easy access and quiet, out-of-the-way-while-close lake-location surely has tourists spend a few days - with word soon getting around that this is not just another hills-and-water place along the way.

The current camp-ground is too small - frequently at capacity; awkwardly set-up; with access from Front in tight zig-zags, particularly difficult for larger RVs.
Those with tents may find that camping there means being squeezed-in between/behind sometimes massive RVs and not necessarily on level ground. This is not what "camping" is all about!

Thus far Nelson has appeared neither RV- nor camping-friendly.
Bound to result in bad press - thus fewer tourists.
Sooo... establishing a green state-of-the-art RV-park/camp-ground at the lake is a no-brainer!

The wonderful world of Star comments on what to do with the area now tabled gives us condos; something tech; another park at that end; extending the Dog Doo Dump (a more descriptive name than Dog Walk).

There's no point in addressing condo-proponents; and something tech could be - actually should have been a long time ago - addressed along the south-side of Lakeshore Drive. Now THERE'S a local waste of space - if ever there was one!
CPR or not!

A parkish park and extending the Dog Doo Dump can be looked at together. The whole stretch of lake - from boat-houses to the Cottonwood Creek bridge - should be a "conscious" park - a continuation of everybody-loves Lakeside Park: easily accessible and to be enjoyed by all. Also part of the MMM Group's plans for the foot of Hall: the wharf area. With a dog-walk built-in but decidedly separate!

Too much of Nelson's lakeshore west of the wharf has been (mis)appropriated by dogs - routinely off-leash, a pitbull yesterday! - facilitated by City Hall's benign neglect, including never checking dog-licenses. These days few will go there to just walk - or watch what ducks? - because water and beaches of its coves seem dead - pretty much got that way by dogs chasing each other and people tirelessly throwing sticks in the water to be fetched; the smell of dog-turds/urine - particularly on a stretch of still, hot days - can be dizzying; picking-up turds is not a given - even on the main-path. Who knows what's left behind in thick, often impenetrable while close underbrush: definitely nobody's picking-up there!
Depending on the weather -the main-path is either lumpy-dusty or lumpy-muddy between puddles: unsafe for joggers and cyclists. A solid end-to-end sheet of ice may slope towards the lake during much of winter.

All-in-all - right now dogs are given more space along the lake than people!

Designate two thirds of the path (sandy coves) - starting at the wharf and with no-nonsense signage - as No Dogs Allowed!
Install a securely locked gate at the far end. Clean-up the area: thin-out the underbrush to make beaches more accessibly inviting; plant shade-trees; provide proper seating areas with benches, picnic-tables and views; grade/gravel the path - the Lakeside Park model.
This should satisfy those who want more park, while there also meaning long overdue management of our finite lake-access. And ducks will come back: not only in the very early morning - before dogs - but all day long.

Reserving just the last third of the path (rocky shoreline) for dogs - from the other side of the locked gate to the creek-bridge - is sufficient space for them and more easily maintained and supervised. With a gate at the bridge as well - this one not locked but to be kept closed. Containment - as much a possible.

No-nonsense rules are posted here also, and their disregard is fined. Locals who may grumble that driving there is just too-too much - and there not being enough space for Stomper - need to be reminded that most dogs here are a luxury; Nelson doesn't owe them anything!
You want a dog: deal with it!
This includes exercise on the dogs' - not the owners'! - terms without dumping on the enjoyment of life of no-dog folk!

While the RV-park/camp-ground is announced as dog-friendly - a tourism-plus - for everybody's comfort dogs need to be kept on a short leash within the grounds. But taking those few steps through the gate across the bridge - voila! - it's off-leash dog-heaven. Within fixed reason!

As said in the post below: Nelson and Kootenay Lake Tourism (NKLT) is in the unenviable position of consistently having to re-invent the wheel. After all - you can only use so many different words to advertise the same old same old.
Also said repeatedly: It's time for Nelson - nudged by the NKLT - to transform itself as a whole from a stopover into a destination. An appropriate RV-park/camp-ground will contribute to making that happen!
The City getting its econo-ducks in a row!

The RDCK presented an opportunity - it's up to City Hall to run with it. 


Wednesday, 22 June 2016

A Picture Worth A Thousand Words. And Bucks!

Following is a presentation (here with minor clarifications) made to the Committee of the Whole (COW), 20 June, 2016, concerning the new logo/slogan of Nelson and Kootenay Lake Tourism (NKLT).
In addition there are thoughts about the NKLT's response in the same COW.

Boring Nelson
Unfortunately for Nelson the new logo and slogan are no improvement over the previous ones. Does anyone remember those? The new ones also fail to make Nelson appear unique.

Being unique: key to tourism-bucks anywhere.

A logo is a face: a pictograph identifying a product, service, place over another with - ideally - must-buy visual impact. It is a determinant in product-, service-, or place-recognition. When strong: potential customers relate positively - curious and eager to buy. When weak: the target-market relates indifferently - reluctant to buy and apt to go with a more focused zap somewhere else.

This Logo
If the new logo - pointlessly jumbled - were not including the word Tourism it might just as easily represent a contractor or plumber. There is no sensitivity, oneness with Nelson, its people and environment. The colorless design as a whole is boring.
This logo is weak.

A slogan is a catchy marker in words - a catch phrase. It may be an addition to the visuals of a logo. Ideally slogan/logo form a compelling whole.

This Slogan's Visuals
Visually Free Spirits & Well-Rounded Squares is no different from the logo. The freedom of these spirits is fixed within a soft-drink label; the well-rounded squares are to be found on the same construction-site - and just as boring.

This Slogan's Message
Plans of free spirits probably are not predetermined by a tour(ism)-guide. 
How free can you bee?
If squares refers to the opposite of free spirits: square vs. hip went out of use decades ago. Nobody refers to squares any longer - not even squares! There must be a segment of the NKLT's target-market which has no idea what's meant by squares. Having been around the block a few times - I am well-familiar with that label, but I have never heard of well-rounded squares. 

Confusing  a target-audience means losing them even before they can be hooked - never mind reeled-in.

Also - well-rounded or not - categorizing potential tourists as squares is patronizing.
This slogan is weak.

Seeing that Nelson depends on tourism, and City Hall enables funding for the NKLT to promote us: it would have been more appropriate to present logo and slogan to Council (or just about anybody not connected to the NKLT) for input before locking them in - not after, whereby not giving outsiders the opportunity for feedback!
It also would have been more constructive to have Nelson participate actively in producing logo/slogan. As done with the Canadian flag, stamps, Olympic logos/slogans.

For a truly inspiring logo and one of the best-known globally: see Joan Miro's of 1983 for Spanish tourism. A piece of art and still affective today!

Here presented reincarnations of Nelson's logo/slogan only connect with each other by their unimaginative heavy-handedness. Neither singly nor together are they likely to inspire an increase in tourism to Nelson and the Kootenay Lake area.

They are not who we are!

Nelson is not boring!


After the presentation to the COW - Dianna Ducs, NKLT, explains that the logo is kept simple because it will often be used together with a picture of beautiful scenery. Sometimes even without the word Tourism. The latter making even less a logo and more unattractive, non-specific location-signage.
Her explanation for/of the double-slogan is that there are many different kinds of tourists coming, even some who may not know the meaning of well-rounded squares but never mind that's okay too. The logic of this escapes.

Clearly - the NKLT is not cognizant of the purpose and power of a logo/slogan as clearly and tightly self-contained tool. Particularly relevant today - with rapid, often truncated communication in visual flash and sound-byte. Instant recognition and time is money more so than ever before. 

A major opportunity here continued to be missed and at least as long as this new combo is in promotional use. Possibly years - like the previous ones. Opportunity missed in the tourism-industry equals fewer tourists! 

Jakob Dulisse