What do you think the province should do about the following issues, locally and provincially?
The opioid crisis
Homeless, addiction, crime, they are all connected. These issues go beyond Nelson’s borders – they are provincial and national problems. So I think we need to be looking at the cause of it and trying to prevent the harm. I think the strategies we’ve been using aren’t working and we need to try something new.
I think that we should be looking at the Car 40 program (mental health workers accompanying police officers), with mental health professionals, looking at integrated mobile crisis teams to respond to mental health-related emergency calls.
The industry is following the rules that the provincial government has put out for them. So I’m not sure why in the last three years they haven’t looked at this as one of the major things to be looking at. We have some serious forest management problems going on and we don’t want to be the next Fort McMurray.
I think we need to be talking to BC Parks, and we need to be talking to Forestry. And we need to be talking to our people that know how to do it best. If you look at Kalesnikov, they’ve been doing forest management for 80 years, and they’re doing a great job of that. And they’re following regulations. If the regulations need to change, then let’s do that. And let’s hold the government accountable to what those things need to be.
Greenhouse gas emissions
This is a global issue really, but we need to minimize the effects of it. I think we need to be talking to the scientists and looking at that, and then having transparent, open communication with everybody so that we can move forward on this.
Nelson and area has zero occupancy rates and quickly rising home values for the last 25 years. It’s basically supply and demand. This is Economics 101, we need more housing.
I think the City of Nelson’s made some smart moves recently, with allowing laneway housing – that increases the housing supply. I know in Salmo they’re allowing carriage homes. So I think that’s going to help. I think the [B.C. Liberals’ proposed] PST cut is going to help. It’s going to make the cost of materials less, which is allowing people to build more homes.
I’d also like to see more initiatives for the private sector to be able to build multi-dwelling homes. Right now, it’s cheaper to build a bigger home than it is to build a multi-dwelling home. So we need to change that, we need to densify and build multi-dwelling units so people can actually afford to live.
Affordable housing is also tied to transit. If we look at Salmo, Blewett and the Valley, those are great places to live, but what we need is a front-end investment on transportation to get those buses running more frequently.
Finley’s bonus issue: Indigenous culture and issues
Out of all my background and experience, I’m not seeing a huge part of the Indigenous community and culture being talked about all throughout our area. So I think that would be something I would like to learn more about.
I’d like to look at that a little bit deeper and and get a better understanding of that part of our community. I believe there’s a increasing number of Indigenous people in foster care, and I don’t know the answers to that, or how we can help. But I think that whoever is in government needs to be dealing with those kinds of factors, and looking at it very clearly.