A rendering of what Hall Street would look like standing at the base of IODE Park.

A rendering of what Hall Street would look like standing at the base of IODE Park.

From the stores to the shores in Nelson

The urban design firm chosen to lead Nelson’s Hall Street corridor project will be getting down to business starting next week

The urban design firm chosen to lead Nelson’s Hall Street corridor project will be getting down to business starting next week, beginning with stakeholder engagement, a community information meeting and the launch of a Facebook page.

The City of Nelson has named MMM Group, a major Canadian-based firm with offices in Kelowna, as the company to oversee the Hall Street overhaul and draft the project’s conceptual design. MMM is teaming up with the 11-member volunteer Hall Street working committee and a five-person team of City Hall staff.

One of the main goals of the City’s ambitious Sustainable Downtown Waterfront Master Plan, completed in 2011, is to establish connections between historic Baker Street and the city’s beautiful lakefront — and Hall Street is the primary route connecting the two areas.

“This is a very exciting time for the City,” says Mayor John Dooley.

“Our plan is to, over time, revitalize the entire five-block corridor, from IODE Park to the Prestige wharf. We’ll add pedestrian-friendly thoroughfares, greenspace, public plaza and make the wharf a more easily accessible public amenity. Plus, the Hall and Front Street intersection will be remodeled into a thoughtfully designed, high-profile gateway to the waterfront.”

The project will be a multi-year project and will be done in conjunction with the city’s infrastructure renewal program.

MMM Group spokesperson Robert Fershau says his firm understands the vital importance of the Hall Street project in creating a vibrant connection between two of Nelson’s major public spaces.

“This connection is where urban design and transportation will work together to create spaces that are not only functional, but thoughtfully planned and beautiful, making residents want to play there, business operators want to work there and visitors want to stay there,” says Fershau.

Fershau says MMM, which has worked on projects all over the world, will ensure the plan is decidedly made-in-Nelson. Preliminary designs will be drafted using the direction set out by the comprehensive Sustainable Downtown Waterfront Master Plan, and visioning provided by the Hall Street working group and Nelsonites themselves.

“Our designs will be grounded in twin pillars of sound technical analysis and meaningful stakeholder and public consultation,” Fershau explains, adding that the project presents a lot of great opportunities for public decision making including access options, modes of transportation, streetscape details and the provision of new ideas for controlling development.

A community information session will be held Thursday, May 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. A public open house will be scheduled later in the process as the conceptual design evolves. All meetings are at Nelson City Hall (310 Ward Street, 2nd floor).

MMM Group will also create a Facebook site for the Hall Street project. The site will be active and posted on the City’s website by the start of next week.