Baker Street in the Christmas season. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Where are Nelson’s downtown Christmas lights?

People have been voicing their complaints to the Star about this, so we decided to look into it

Baker Street is not looking very festive this year, even though many individual businesses have creative Christmas window displays.

For many years until two years ago, a volunteer group decorated the downtown at Christmas with lights and decorations purchased by the city from the Spurway Trust Fund, a private legacy endowment given for the beautification of the city.

But then the group disbanded and turned the responsibility back to city hall.

“The individual called us and said we just don’t have the time to do this any more,” city planner Pam Mierau told the Star this week, “and so they gave us back all the decorations — lights, wreaths, elves, cutouts, tinsel, many things — most of them are at the end of their life, so it is not like we can just put them back up.”

The city decided instead to incorporate Christmas lighting into its Downtown Urban Design Strategy, which is under development.

“We assessed the decorations and we were also starting our design strategy,” said Mayor Deb Kozak, “and we thought this was an opportunity to pull (the decorations) into a longer term strategy, to think about what decorations were appropriate, to have a plan.”

During the volunteer group’s time, the city purchased lights for businesses downtown to decorate their buildings.

“The lights that were purchased for property owners,” Kozak said, “if you go down Baker they are still on the buildings, but (most of them) are not plugging them in, and I don’t know why.”

Mierau said the draft design strategy includes “a general lighting plan for the downtown as well as a holiday lighting plan. That was on our work plan to do this year, but unfortunately we just never got there. We had a lot of big projects this year. It is on our plan for next year.”

Kozak said there is no budget for a new lighting plan yet but the city hopes to partner with the business community on it.

She said there were some safety issues with the volunteer group climbing to put up lights, especially when it was discovered that the bases of the Baker Street antique lamp standards, on which volunteers were leaning ladders, were rusting, making them unstable.

“Thank God we discovered this before there was an accident,” she said.

Councillor Bob Adams was part of the Christmas lighting volunteer group and he has championed Christmas lights at many city council meetings.

“I am for getting the lights up,” Adams told the Star. “I am not for waiting for a year, two years, to make a plan.”

Adams said he understands the safety issue related to the lamp standards.

“At least light all the trees downtown,” he said. “They are not going to fall over.”

“He is a bit impatient with us,” Kozak said, “because we have not got it together. But that does not stop the business owners from using what they have in place already, on the buildings, or in lighting up things as they see fit.”

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Nelson climate strike packs downtown to demand action

An inter-generational crowd staged a ‘die-in’ as part of the global strike Friday

Nelson’s Cedar Grove Estates affordable housing site to receive $3.2 million in renos

The project was made public during the Nelson CARES annual general meeting

Kootenay Lake ferry to shut down Saturday afternoon

Service to resume Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m.

Mystery illness killing Kootenay bees

Samples being sent to laboratories for analysis

Woman stabbed in downtown Nelson

Victim is in hospital, suspect is in police custody

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

Most Read