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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


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

Leafs beat Nitehawks for 8th straight win

The win gives Nelson a provisional division lead

Castlegar march ensures missing, murdered aboriginal women not forgotten

About 60 people took part in the Valentine’s day memorial

Jenner scored 2 in debut as Leafs beat Thunder Cats

Nelson is on a seven-game winning streak

First presumptive case of coronavirus identified in the Interior Health region

The woman, in her 30s, travelled from Shanghai and lives in the interior

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Most Read