First impressions are so important when it comes to those who visit our community. Many are lured here by a promise of an idyllic mountain community tucked away alongside the lake with a charming downtown core. The large majority don’t leave disappointed.
In the last two years, the downtown core has experienced two massive fires — the Redfish Grill in the summer of 2010 and the Kerr Apartments this past January. These unfortunate incidents have left lasting marks on our downtown landscape.
Earlier this month the Nelson Fire Department completed an update to the fire regulation bylaw. In the review, tougher regulations for property owners and insurance brokers dealing with buildings consumed by fire was addressed. It’s a welcome development.
The Redfish Grill building sits in the 400 block of Baker Street, right in the heart of the downtown. Thanks to an initiative by the city’s cultural development commission, the street level facade of the building was finally cleaned up this past summer with a mural. A decent band-aid, but the fact it took a year to get to that point is unacceptable.
Running the gauntlet of the post-fire process is understandably difficult, but too often there is a lack of urgency from forces outside everyday life in Nelson. Anything that can be done to move the process along is welcome.
The overall look of our community — whether it be downtown or in all other neighbourhoods — is key to future success. We can only hope changes to the fire regulation bylaw will help get rid of lasting scars that leave the wrong impression.