A new mayor for Nelson

Deb Kozak is taking the lead in Nelson as she steps into position of mayor after nine years on council

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Deb Kozak is the mayor of Nelson, B.C.

Deb Kozak has been elected mayor of Nelson, B.C. — Photo courtesy Deb Kozak

After three terms as a councillor in Nelson, B.C., Deb Kozak decided the time was right to run for mayor in the 2014 elections. After becoming Nelson’s first woman elected as mayor, Kozak is excited to bring her continued passion for the community and her ideas for the future.

What was your motivation for running for the office of mayor?

I have nine years experience on council, and there are some community and regional initiatives that I’m passionate about that I want to see achieved. Basically, it was time for me to step up and to continue the work that I’ve been doing over the last nine years and to take Nelson to its next evolution.

What is your character trait that you think will be most valuable to you as mayor?

I’m curious and collaborative, and I’ll lead in a direction that is most likely to succeed.

What do you think will be your biggest personal challenge in the first six months?

I think balancing my work and personal life. After working as a councillor for nine years, I’m familiar with the workload that council has. But when you take the step up to mayor, the position is very demanding. There are a lot of aspects to being mayor that you don’t necessarily deal with as a councillor, and I think that finding that work/personal balance is going to be a bit challenging in the first six months.

What goal are you most looking forward to working on?

I’m really excited about working with this new council as we implement the strategic planning that has been done as a foundation. The previous councils I was on were immersed in developing long-term planning strategies, and we’ve done a good job of that. This council will enjoy implementing those plans. The future of our community and how we're going to shape what it looks like—how we welcome people and how we grow into the future—will flow out of these long-term plans. That includes everything from climate change mitigation to development in our downtown core, as well as development in other parts of our community. Also, how innovative we can be in those aspects and how we work as a region. This council is going to have fun making those things come into being, and I’m looking forward to working with them to be able to do that.

I think sometimes we forget that there’s a lot of joy in the community of Nelson. Yes, we have challenges, but the community itself has a lot of joy. I think that council should exude that more. I think we need to celebrate our community and our successes and, yes, we'll deal with challenges as well, but I think that’s what council is going to have fun doing.

What’s your go-to leisure activity?

I’d just like to say walking and hiking. Just being outside is a wonderful thing here. I find that inspirational, and I can be outside in a very short period of time. Within walking distance, I can be in the trees and just walking on trails or paths. I don’t have to drive to get very close, so I would say walking, hiking and just being outside.

Every Kootenay community has that wonderful aspect to it. I think that’s why a lot of people from big cities are hoping to move to these areas. One of the things that I think is going to be a huge driver for that is the development of broadband regionally. I think that’s going to attract more people who will start businesses or live here and work elsewhere.

Kristen Mitchell

Kristen studied at College of the Rockies in Cranbrook and has worked in a variety of industries, from agriculture to construction, retail to restaurants. She now brings her understanding of the area to Kootenay Business magazine. View all of Kristen Mitchell’s articles

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