City master plan: imagine 3,000 more residents in the core

Modern buildings on Baker, hundreds of downtown apartments and a new waterfront neighbourhood are all on the table as the city’s latest vision for its core goes back to the public for a final round of consultation Wednesday evening.

  • Mar. 8, 2011 4:00 p.m.
From this to this? Nelson's draft Downtown and Waterfront Master Plan would turn a portion of Hall Street into a public plaza.

From this to this? Nelson's draft Downtown and Waterfront Master Plan would turn a portion of Hall Street into a public plaza.

Modern buildings on Baker, hundreds of downtown apartments and a new waterfront neighbourhood are all on the table as the city’s latest vision for its core goes back to the public for a final round of consultation Wednesday evening.

The Downtown and Waterfront Master Plan, which saw two rounds of public input last fall, is on display from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Hume Hotel, with formal presentations at 6:15 and 7:15 p.m.

Created by Vancouver-based IBI Group, the draft plan calls for a slate of new parks and public spaces in both areas, as well as on the North Shore, and encourages the city create a “catalytic development company” to jump-start its residential and commercial plans.

New parks would include the controversial Red Sands Beach, which IBI recommends preserving with its current tree grove, a North Shore green space built around the orange bridge, and a “gateway park” that would replace most of the parking lot at the Prestige Lakeside Resort.

The rarely used plaza outside City Hall would get its own facelift. The report suggests using the space to host more public events and adding “one or several small retail or food businesses at its northern edge, interactive public art, interactive fountains, gardens, playground, bocce ball or small stage area.”

Another plaza would replace the section of Hall Street just above Baker, now mainly used as parking space.

The plan also calls for “approximately 1,000 to 1,200 new multi-family homes representing approximately 2,500 to 3,000 residents,” to be added over time in the city’s core.

Most would be built in “waterfront central,” the land between Poplar and Hall Streets, while some would eventually take the place of the Chahko Mika Mall (which the report suggests eventually developing into “a mixed-use precinct, with retail uses at-grade and residential above.”)

As well, the report suggests building several new connections between the downtown and waterfront, and tying the Streetcar No. 23 into the Nelson transit system.

To do all this, the city can encourage a developer to build “an initial assemblage” of projects, agreeing “to receive the bulk of its returns in the long-term, well after those investors with shorter investment time horizons have received their capital and return.”