At Monday’s city council meeting, Bob Inwood presented a history of Nelson’s 1980s downtown revitalization and a critique of the city’s choice of new streetlights. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Heritage expert criticizes Nelson’s new streetlamp design

Bob Inwood calls the new design bland and generic

The man largely responsible for Nelson’s heritage revitalization in the 1980s doesn’t like Nelson’s proposed streetlight design.

“The city’s current trend toward nibbling away at the essence of some of the key elements of [the revitalization] is very troubling in my mind,” Bob Inwood told the Star in an email, “as the unique features that define the character of the community’s heritage are replaced with bland, generic hardware.”

He told council at its Monday meeting that the current streetlights were custom-made in the 1980s based on lights that were in place until the 1950s.

Last year Nelson council decided it needed to replace the streetlamps because the bases were corroding, the moulds to create copies were not available, and creating new moulds would be too expensive.

So earlier this year council decided to buy new generic lamp standards. It proposed several designs to the public, a majority of whom voted on one style that council eventually chose (see photo).


• City approves new Baker Street lights

• Q&A with Nelson’s Mr. Heritage

Inwood said he thinks council and staff did not dig deeply enough to find out whether the current lamp standards could be repaired or re-manufactured.

“I have spoken with the original suppliers of the Nelson light standards (E.B. Horsman), and they indicated that a retro-fit to LED lighting would be totally possible,” he said. He added that the company told him the lamp standards could be structurally repaired.

City manager Kevin Cormack, in an interview following the council meeting, disagreed.

“I am confident that our staff went out and tried to find [the moulds for the lamp standards],” he said. “We understand the company that originally did that mould … has changed hands and been purchased by a larger company and as they went through that process this product apparently was not important to them and the mould is gone.”

He said city staff had tested the metal in all the lamp standards and found that the bases were failing.

Inwood said he has concerns about “how the city seems to be somewhat disrespecting the effort and investment previously made by the Nelson business community to achieve a cohesive marketing image — a strategy that has been very successful.”


• Council thanks Nelson’s heritage guru

• City to re-design Baker St.

Inwood said people are initially drawn to Nelson because of “its historic ambiance and the beauty of the natural surroundings, and that historic ambiance is slowly being chipped away at, largely by people who have little background knowledge of the process that made the city what it is today.”

He cited the recent re-design of Hall Street as an example.

At the council meeting, Inwood presented a detailed Powerpoint slideshow with a history of the 1980s revitalization.

During the postwar years, many downtown building owners covered up their buildings with stucco, steel cladding, and other materials in an attempt to look modern.

Inwood presented a number of before-and-after slides of downtown buildings when the heritage architecture was uncovered and restored.

In 2016, city council gave Inwood an award for his leadership in transforming Nelson’s drab pre-1980s downtown.

“Between 1980 and 1985, more than 70 heritage buildings were restored in Nelson’s downtown under Bob’s guidance, and Nelson would not be the remarkable city it is today without his talent, cultural insights and knowledge of Nelson’s architectural history,” Nelson’s cultural development officer Joy Barrett said when presenting the award.


• Baker-Josephine four-way stop might become permanent

• A ‘pedestrian scramble’ for Nelson’s Ward and Baker intersection?

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


The design recently chosen for Nelson’s future streetlamps. Photo courtesy of the City of Nelson

The current lamp standard. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

The current lamp standard. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Nelson climate strike packs downtown to demand action

An inter-generational crowd staged a ‘die-in’ as part of the global strike Friday

Nelson’s Cedar Grove Estates affordable housing site to receive $3.2 million in renos

The project was made public during the Nelson CARES annual general meeting

Kootenay Lake ferry to shut down Saturday afternoon

Service to resume Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m.

Mystery illness killing Kootenay bees

Samples being sent to laboratories for analysis

Woman stabbed in downtown Nelson

Victim is in hospital, suspect is in police custody

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

Most Read