Nelson Commons is seen under construction this year.

2015’s top stories No. 1: Nelson’s building boom

Nelson isn’t known for having a lot of construction activity going on at once. But in 2015, several major projects got underway.



Nelson isn’t known for having a lot of construction activity going on at once. But in 2015, several major projects got underway at opposite ends of Baker St. and more are set to begin in 2016.

The Kootenay Co-op finally broke ground on Nelson Commons, which will see a new store and 54 housing units open at the east end of Baker in the late summer of 2016.

The Stores to Shores project saw Hall St. redeveloped between Herridge Lane and Lake St. While the city completed various underground infrastructure fixes, it also gave the street a cosmetic overhaul including pedestrian bulb outs, new sidewalks, staircases, and a revamped plaza at IODE Park.

Some contentious traffic changes were ditched before work began, but Hall St. became a two-way between Baker and Vernon while Cedar St. became a one-way southbound between Front and Vernon.

The eight-month project was awarded to local company Maglio Installations, one of five bidders.

Still, not everybody was thrilled about it businesses had to endure racket all summer that limited parking and customer access, and some parts still aren’t quite finished. A few businesses found themselves without parking because of unanticipated changes in elevation on the Hall St. hill.

At Baker St.’s west end, the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce moved into the city’s historic train station after five years of renovation and restoration.

The building is also home to Nelson-Kootenay Lake Tourism and the visitor information centre. The Nelson Star will move in this week, a coffee shop is expected to open in the new year, and a few other ground floor spaces are still up for grabs. There’s also a stunning boardroom available for rent.

Acquiring the building was just a germ of an idea when chamber boss Tom Thomson joined the organization in February 2007. The organization came to terms with the CPR in July 2010 and work has proceeded in fits and starts ever since, based on funding availability. Joern Wingender oversaw the project, which trained many people at their crafts.

“That building could have been knocked down and replicated for two-thirds the cost,” Thomson says. “Some people thought we were acquiring an asset, some thought a liability.” There’s no doubt now that it’s an asset and an incredible one at that.

Additionally, Shambhala Music Festival opened Bloom nightclub in the former Savoy Hotel, eight years after a devastating fire left the building vacant. Work is continuing on the facade, and further plans call for a 12-room hotel, rooftop space, and lounge.

Also at that end of town, the University of BC set up shop in the former Nelson Daily News building, offering both the West Kootenay Teacher Education Program and creative writing classes.

In 2016, we can expect two more major projects to begin: the first phase of Nelson Landing, which will see eight housing units built on the former Kootenay Forest Products site, as well as the new Ancron medical clinic opposite Kootenay Lake Hospital. After some debate, city council approved a zoning change that will allow Dr. Andre Kirsten to construct a two-storey building to house six to nine doctors.

Just Posted

VIDEO: SPCA ushers in new era with Castlegar facility

$2.69-million project had ribbon cutting on Friday

Slocan seniors’ housing hosts grand opening Sept. 27

The society wants to give the public a glimpse before tenants move in and the weather changes.

LETTERS: Tom Fletcher analysis is as outdated as the Edsel

Dona grace-Campbell takes issue with columnist Tom Fletcher’s column on the carbon tax

Kootenay author to speak about her hockey mom memoir

Angie Abdou will be at the Oxygen Art Centre on Sept. 28

VIDEO: Lydia Kania is here to skunk you

The Vallican track athlete has turned to cribbage in her senior years

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in B.C. exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

B.C. man who left hospice to run in upcoming election dies

A week after leaving hospice to go to city hall to declare his candidacy, David Hesketh has died.

Most Read