Nelson’s downtown backalleys are filled with garbage and grit. A route through the core you won’t see on any of our tourism lure pieces.
Our downtown alleys are also two strips of bustling activity and surprising beauty. With the old wooden power poles creating an urban forest setting, the alleys are vital for deliveries as well as disposal. There are retail and restaurants, some of the best the town has to offer. And alleys are busy pedestrian routes for those attempting to avoid the bustle of the main drag.
On the front page of Friday’s Star, we featured a story on a downtown business attempting to stem the rise in tagging and unwanted graffiti. Vogue Photographic hired Bryn Stevenson to create a mural in hopes of sprucing up the back entrance to their shop. It’s nothing new, but it’s a welcome move.
In a community where artistic talent overflows, bringing some of the richness to the alternate route is something we hope catches on. Along with professional artists like Stevenson, there are bulging talents in places like L.V. Rogers high school and Selkirk College. More building owners and businesses should investigate a cost effective way to bring new life to their drab back ends.
A concerted effort is not going to fix the problem this community has with ignorant taggers and lame vandals. Those who feel the urge to destroy with their spray cans will continue to find places to break the law. But perhaps even they will show a new respect to private property once art is created.
Our backalleys are an outlet full of opportunity. With a little bit of extra attention, maybe Nelson can gain yet one more feature that sets us apart.