CORE announces first three confirmed candidates for Nelson City Council
NELSON – Nelson’s CORE party has named its first three candidates to be endorsed in the upcoming municipal election.
Long-time Nelson resident and entrepreneur Cal Renwick, sales professional and single-mom Michelle Hillaby, and early childhood educator Stephanie Wiggins were approved by the group to run under the CORE banner in the election this October.
“CORE is non-partisan and crosses all political and socio-economic boundaries, and these first candidates clearly represent that diversity,” said Paul Cowan, CORE spokesperson.
The group came together in late 2017 as a result of hearing similar conversations amongst Nelson residents in a variety of contexts, but all with a common theme of dissatisfaction with Council’s leadership.
“Whether it was the non-profit sector, small business, retirees, young families – there were near-constant complaints about how the City was moving in the wrong direction, and hearing that from so many different parts of the political spectrum told us that there was a need for a group like ours to come together,” said Cowan.
Stephanie Wiggins is a mother to a two-year-old child, and works in the Early Childhood Education sector. She describes herself as part of the LGBTQ community, and as an advocate for issues related to poverty, housing, and children.
“My family – Markin – has been in this area for generations, and I’ve seen a change for the worse in how things are being handled on issues important to people like me,” she explained. “Red tape is adding expense and delays to affordable housing developments; increased costs like water, sewer and garbage fees add expense for landlords which gets passed on to tenants, and those are just a few of the concerns I’d like to work on with my colleagues in CORE,” Wiggins explained.
Michelle Hillaby came to Nelson about six years ago to raise a family. As a mom of two young kids, she’s active in the youth sports scene, as well as being an active athlete herself. “Initially, it was the pure silliness of the issues around Lion’s Park and Little League Baseball that spurred me to say ‘enough is enough with this Council’, and CORE was the perfect fit for my views on how this amazing little City could be run,” Hillaby said. “Everyone I talk to has variations of the same story, no matter their background or interest: the City is heading in the wrong direction.”
Cal Renwick is a recently-retired entrepreneur with deep family and business roots in Nelson. His family started City Auto Service – now Nelson Chrysler – in the late 50’s, then expanded and opened Nelson Toyota in 1969. Cal led operations at the dealership until he sold in 2016. Cal was also one of the principal owners of the Nelson Brewing Company until 2016.
His father Maurice was also a two-term councillor in the late 70’s.
“I’ve said many times: ’I was born here and I’m going to die here’, and despite all of the economic ups and downs we’ve endured over the years, we never had a situation like we’ve found ourselves in over the past three years,” said Renwick.
“It’s clear that the City needs a change of direction,” he said. “When I look at how Baker Street has been allowed to deteriorate, with aggressive panhandling and open drug use and violence; when I hear tourists for the first time ever saying that they won’t come back to Nelson; and when I hear residents say that they are scared to visit their own downtown, it’s clear that new leadership is needed at Council.”
Renwick is a strong advocate for reclaiming Nelson’s Civic Pride, with festivals and arts and culture events that take back the downtown core for visitors and residents alike.
All three of these first candidates will appear on the ballot this October with the ‘CORE’ name and bullseye logo beside their name. The group is continuing to interview potential candidates, and more endorsements are expected in the coming weeks.
More details on the party’s approach to decision-making can be found on their website, votecore.com.
Election day is October 20, 2018.