By Erin Thompson

The sanctuary at the United Church was packed full on Monday night, with over 220 people in attendance to hear the Nelson City Council hopefuls state their proposed actions to mitigate climate change and wildfire risk to the city. All candidates, councillors and mayors, were given the opportunity to speak to at least one of five prepared resolutions set up as a mock council meeting, with each resolution being voted on by all candidates. It was exciting, it was a debate that each resolution ended in a clear show of hands on which candidates supported or opposed each resolution.

While there is much cause for concern with rising carbon pollution and global temperature increase, there was a resounding note of hope for a path to a better future as all candidates unanimously voted in favour of the following resolution:

BE IT RESOLVED THAT: Nelson Council direct staff to develop and implement a strategy at the community-level for meeting the 100% renewable energy by 2050 goal. This plan would be in place by 2020 and include specific milestones for each five year period.

That’s right – all potential candidates in attendance support the just transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050, including having the plan in place by 2020. Which means that we can expect to see city staff working on developing the plan to reach 100% renewable energy right away.

I felt hopeful for our city and our future, especially as several other encouraging themes surfaced repeatedly: that Nelson can and should lead the way to transitioning off of fossil fuels, that 100% renewable energy is the right goal for 2050, and that we need to take action now to invest in climate change mitigation, including wildfire protection. Check out EcoSociety’s Twitter account for details on who said what.

All candidates attended the forum, except Rob Richichi and Bernie Brown.