The Nelson Commons worksite from the crane-- photo by construction worker Connor Crichton.

Everybody’s talking about the Nelson Commons crane

A crane carries an aura of big-city development. What does it mean for Nelson?

Has there ever been a construction crane in Nelson before?

“Old-timers tell us they don’t remember ever seeing one,” says Sean Dillabaugh, the superintendent of the Nelson Commons construction site.

Cranes carry an aura of big city development. But for an experienced construction boss like Dillabaugh, this crane is a small one.

“It’s a Nelson-sized crane,” he says.

But regardless of its size, having a crane on a worksite is a big responsibility, he says.

“You have to be able to make sure the crane is efficient and earning its keep. There is no point in having a crane out there if it is not lifting anything.  But also you are flying loads over an active worksite so safety is a paramount concern.”

Photo from the crane by Connor Crichton.

The crane’s biggest fans are children. Darcy Nelson, the site’s safety officer, says he enjoys talking to them about the crane.

“For us to see the little kids look up there and smile,” he says, “means a lot to us. Little kids love machinery. To be able to explain what it is there for, and how it operates, is really good for us.”

The crane will be in place until November.

This week the Star asked readers on its Facebook page to comment on the crane and its effect on the Nelson landscape. Here are a few of the responses.

It reminds me of downtown Vancouver construction. My 3 year old son loves it, and all the other diggers and excavators at the site. —Nikki Rilkoff

That crane is a total safety hazard. As I was walking by and looking up at it, I almost ran into a parking meter! —Vance Romance

I love the grace and elegance of the crane. I can not understand why this piece of machinery is named after a beautiful bird? Anyone know? I see it as a symbol of a project with vision and determination. Somehow I can not stop to buy my falafel from Bites truck because of this crane! Life! —Hoda Ghamrawy

The crane is a sign of progress, which is neither bad or good. Time will tell of the impact that this building will have on the community. It tells me that there is an awful lot of housing going up for the wealthy and nothing for the homeless or low income residents. —Roz Fiddler

It’s something you rarely see in such a nice quiet little town like ours. It’s exciting to see, but I don’t think I’d want to see it again after this job for a while. —Joseph Lamonde Christie

Sort of reminds me of what I see out of our apartment in Vancouver. —Shayne Kasai

Good, I was beginning to think they were extinct. —John Dooley

My 15 year old son got so excited when he saw it for the first time. He was like a little boy, pointing his finger and saying, “ Mom, Mom! Look at that! It’s a crane!!!!” —Catherine Luminous

It means that Nelson is experiencing some good things! While, of course, Nelson has it’s small town charm, etc, it also does need to grow and expand as time goes on. I personally think that it’s great to see positive growth and things happening, rather than an empty building/parking lot, etc. So, I believe the crane is a very positive sign! —John Pearson

Construction on Hall Street and the Nelson Commons crane in the background by Bill Metcalfe

 

 

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