Nelson citizens invited to re-design Baker St.

'Designfest' will consist of two public design events on June 18 and 20.

'Designfest' will consist of two public design events on June 18 and 20 to update the look of Baker St.

The City of Nelson will hold two design charettes for the public next week as part of its re-design of Baker St.

A charette is a process in which the ideas of large numbers of people are incorporated into a design. The Baker St. charettes will be facilitated by consultants from MVH Urban Planning and Design, the company the city has hired to complete the plan.

The proposed re-design involves such things as signage, lighting, street furniture, landscaping, amenity areas, patios, washrooms and possibly electric charging stations.

The first charette will be held on Saturday, June 18, from 3:30 to 5:30 with registration starting at 2:30 p.m. at the Adventure Hotel. The designers and members of the public will refine the ideas already developed at a public design workshop held at the Oxygen Art Centre in May.

The main themes that arose from that workshop, according to city planner Megan Squires, were a desire for public washrooms, drinking fountains and dog water, amenity areas for eating lunch or hanging out, green space, and a number of transportation issues: bike racks, bike lanes, more parking, less parking, a tram, more busses, and car-free zones.

The city has dubbed the two upcoming charettes Designfest. Ideas from the first charette on June 18 will be turned into drawings by two of the consultants who are architectural illustrators.

Those drawings and the ideas related to them will be presented at the second charette, to be held at the Capitol Theatre on Monday, June 20 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The material presented will still be in draft form, however, and still open to revision because more events are planned in the summer.

“After the charettes,” says Squires, “we will be doing some pop-up events through the summer in various locations, including at the market. We’ve hired a student from Selkirk College who will be out in the community.”

The student will set up a display table at various events and talk with the public about selected things such as lighting, asking the public to consider specific ideas and asking for input.

In the fall, a draft design strategy for Baker St. will be presented to the public and then a final draft will be presented to council.

The budget for the planning and design is $50,000.

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