The Cultural Development Commission and the City of Nelson’s engineering department are hard at work paving the way for a makeover for the Railtown neighbourhood.
Stephanie Fischer, chair of the Cultural Development Commission, Joy Barrett, cultural development officer and Rob Nystrom, operations manager of engineering, presented an overview of the project that will change the look of the 100 block of Baker Street.
The engineering department has already started one of the major parts of the project, which is redoing and installing sidewalks throughout the area.
Nystrom explained that the sidewalks, along with projects from the Cultural Development Commission, will help guide people into the neighbourhood and also increase pedestrian traffic to the Rosemont culvert and Cottonwood Park.
Councillor Marg Stacey asked Nystrom if anything would be done to make the Rosemont culvert more inviting.
“The more people that are on the sidewalks, the more comfortable they will feel,” said Nystrom.
Stacey suggested maybe lighting would also help improve the culvert.
Nystrom assured council the construction would cause minimal disruption to businesses in the area.
“It’s going to be a real point of entry, and it already is, but [especially] with the CP Rail station renovations, which are happening within the next two to three years, and will become the Chamber of Commerce visitors’ centre,” said Barrett.
“It will become the initial point of entry for most tourists. They will go to the Chamber of Commerce, decide what they want to do and most likely walk up Baker Street.”
Part of the work that the Cultural Development Commission is doing is installing new heritage inspired lampposts at the four way stops.
Barrett said they will be similar to the ones on Baker Street but taller.
“What we hope to do is put some banners on the light standards which would be a welcoming flash of colour when you come into Nelson,” she said.
The Cultural Development Commission recently put out a call for submissions from artists for the Cottonwood Creek bridge.
Artists are being invited to submit proposals for artwork that will line the safety rail on the bridge.
Mayor John Dooley wanted to ensure the artwork represents the Railtown neighbourhood.
Barrett and Fischer said they hadn’t put restrictions on the style of art, but did say they were insisting the artists look at the Downtown and Waterfront Sustainability Plan.
Barrett said the Cultural Development Commission and the engineering department are working closely so there is cohesion in the project and it doesn’t look piecemeal.
The revitalization of the 100 block of Baker Street was highlighted in the Sustainability Plan and Barrett said the two groups are considering it in the work being done.
Engineering has already started working on the sidewalks and clearing the streets.
Barrett said the lampposts will be installed over the next few months and the art for the Cottonwood bridge will be showcased by late September or October.