In getting ready for spring in the city, council is looking at ways to improve the downtown core.
Recently I completed a one-day workshop called Economic Development Essentials for Local Leaders. There were many topics, such as strategic planning, business retention and expansion, and business attraction. As well, I am involved with local community leaders and business people on the Downtown/Waterfront Committee, through which staff and council are proposing some improvements.
So in order to retain businesses and attract new businesses, the downtown core could use some much needed upgrades.
Most people know about the amenity area where the concrete wall was removed in order to do some enhancements.
The Downtown/Waterfront Committee is looking at incorporating, benches, flowers, restaurant tables and maybe a statue in these amenity areas. Part of the Downtown/Waterfront Plan are suggestions to improve the walk-ability of the Hall Street corridor to the waterfront. Along with this are efforts to clean up the downtown core to make it more inviting to visitors and patrons.
To spruce up the Christmas holidays in Nelson, lights were put up in the downtown core, of which the City received a lot of positive feedback. Because of this, additional lights are being looked at to place on the buildings and trees for the next holiday season. In addition, the Downtown/Waterfront Committee is also reviewing the downtown street heritage lighting to change the lights to a type of light that shines down on the street while reducing the light shining up.
When my wife Colleen and I went to Whitehorse in the Yukon in 2003, we stopped at the visitor centre and were pleasantly surprised when we were given a bag of goodies. It included a local travel brochure with cost saving coupons, some treats and a one day free parking pass. So following this idea, it would make Nelson more inviting to visitors if something was done along this line. Giving visitors with pets a free day parking pass by the dog walk would be a positive step along with promoting Nelson as a safe clean city for family, children and seniors. Now if we could just get rid of the cigarette butts, and clean the buildings, to restore the city to the splendor it was after 1980s heritage beautification project.
Everyone wants the downtown core to prosper, so further effort is needed to clean up the streets. The City is still dealing with the burnt Redfish Grill building and the old abandoned Esso gas station property (in the 200-block of Baker Street), with limited success.
Also mentioned along the Hall Street corridor to the waterfront are suggestions to include adding trees along the sidewalk and changing the store fronts of some of the business to face Hall Street from the Vernon Street mini mall to help improve the area.
It is fortunate that a lot of people love Nelson and former visitors have moved here with their business because it is a safe place to raise families with children. Other people have moved here for the life style of eco sports and recreation.
So with collaboration, funding and dedication, the Nelson downtown core could be improved — i.e. spruced up — for a benefit to all, citizens and business alike.
Robin Cherbo is a Nelson city councillor who shares this Wednesday space with his colleagues around the table.