A creation outside the box in Nelson

The wrapped utility boxes in downtown Nelson are a welcome addition to the city
The wrapped utility boxes in downtown Nelson are a welcome addition to the city's core.
— image credit: Kirsten Hildenbrand photo

It’s become a common urban beautification strategy, but in Nelson we’ve managed to take the electrical box wraps to an even higher level.

You have likely seen the downtown boxes already and if you haven’t you can check out this story. The latest additions to our city’s core are attractive and informative solutions to the bland green transformers scattered throughout the city.

Just as impressive as the look of the boxes is the collaboration that took place to get them to their current state. It’s local talent and local problem solving at its best.

It started with the downtown electrical conversion project that Nelson Hydro hatched in 2010. The city-owned utility is still in the process of upgrading the service and eliminating the concentration of overhead lines. It’s a project that will take us into the modern age, but the green metal boxes left behind didn’t seem to fit with our heritage look.

When it began, the Cultural Development Committee stepped up with an offer to help. Since that time, much work has been done to formulate a plan to make the boxes a better fit. We are now seeing the results of plenty of hard work and consultation.

Retired museum curator Shawn Lamb and Laura Fortier from Touchstones Nelson helped with the history and images that now adorn the boxes. Utilizing their skills and knowledge was essential to what we see today.

Adding to the local touch is the fact that renown artist Murray Kimber jumped on board to create the final version of the wrap. It helps that Kimber is now also the owner of Nelson’s Speedpro Signs, but his design of the boxes is the icing on top of the electrical box cake.

Congratulations to all those involved in making this project a reality. It’s a credit to the desire of community leaders to continue to make the Nelson downtown core one of our most cherished assets.


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