The paving project at Chahko Mika Mall has caused some unforeseen complications for the Nelson Electric Tramway Society.
Jim Robertson, the operation superintendent, is concerned that their announced plan to have Streetcar #23 running by today is now in jeopardy.
While the crews are paving at the mall, the power lines above have been turned off for safety concerns. When volunteers arrived on Wednesday to prepare the tramway for operation by cleaning the rails, they were told they had to leave due to liability concerns, Robertson said.
“We’ve lost anywhere between $1,000 and $1,500 so far because of the mall parking lot paving not being finished,” said Robertson.
So far they’ve lost four wedding charters, which typically ferry wedding parties from the Prestige resort to Lakeside Park for photos.
“The paving was originally supposed to be done by April 16, then they still hadn’t awarded a contract. Then they said they’d have it paved by Saturday, then they said Tuesday, then they stood around due to moisture, the gravel was too moist and they couldn’t pave over it.
“I’m hoping they’ll pave today (Thursday), and if they do we might be able to run tomorrow,” said Robertson.
Tony Maida of Selkirk Paving said the job was continuing as planned and was scheduled to be complete on May 26.
“There’s nothing controversial about this project,” said Bernie Penner, owner of Pennco Engineering. He said everyone in Nelson knows the mall parking lot needs upgrades, and he hopes the work will be complete “very, very soon.”
“We are totally at the will of Selkirk Paving and the mall management,” said Robertson. “They’ve been dragging their feet. Right now we’re extremely frustrated.”
“I did get a sorry out of Tony,” said Robertson. “As far as reimbursement for lost revenue, they haven’t acknowledged that were entitled to anything. We’re out of luck.”
Robertson said half the parking lot has been cleared out, and they’ve done some work cleaning the rails. They have to complete cleaning the rails to avoid risking derailment, he said.
“It’s iffy at this point,” said Robertson of their planned opening. “We’re in obeisance until they give us the okay and turn our power back on.”
Streetcar #23 is a fully functional streetcar that was used in Nelson for the first half of the twentieth century and was once the backup streetcar for the defunct Nelson Street Railway.
The Nelson Electric Tramway Society, The Chamber of Commerce, Royal Bank and Selkirk College all contributed to restoring the streetcar, which provides a scenic ride along Nelson’s waterfront. The society is volunteer-driven.
For more information about Streetcar #23, visit the Nelson Electric Tramway Society’s website or their Facebook page.