The future of the downtown is looking brighter.
A plan has been unveiled to bring a new, updated look to the city’s downtown lighting scheme as part of the implementation of the Downtown Urban Design Strategy.
That process began last week when city council had a brief introduction to the project by city staff as it prepared to go public for input on design choices.
The existing, historic, multi-globe downtown streetlights need to be replaced as they are past their useful life, with a recent study citing the light poles were failing “due to age and associated structural deterioration.”
“The current lights have also been expensive to maintain and difficult and timely to replace,” noted a city staff report.
Toward that end the city hired consultants to help select downtown streetlights, as well as decorative lighting that will be on all year and holiday lighting.
Residents will have a choice in the final design of the lights by choosing a favourite online — where the proposed downtown streetlight designs will be posted on the city’s website — from each category of light.
The public feedback will also include consultation with the downtown business community on the preferred lighting styles.
Light it up
According to what was laid out in the strategy for downtown urban design, the goal is to implement lighting that “creates a pleasing nighttime environment, while at the same time meets safety and security objectives.”
As well, those lights are expected to “enhance and complement the historic downtown, reduce operational and maintenance costs, be energy efficient, and improve lighting conditions,” read a city staff report to council.
And it won’t just be the bulbs or the glass on the light poles being replaced in the project. The streetlight upgrade will require the full replacement of the streetlights including the base, pole and light.
A light strategy
The lighting project draws heavily on the Downtown Urban Design Strategy which has recommended the use of three different streetlights, including a heritage style for Baker and Ward street, a transitional style for Victoria Street and cross streets and a contemporary style for Vernon Street.
In order to guide the process a selection committee will be formed with members from the city’s Cultural Development Committee, the Nelson business community, Nelson Hydro and a member from the public to help choose three different lights for each category.
Light at the end of the tunnel
Once the public feedback period has ended a final report will be compiled and delivered to council for a final decision, aiming for new streetlight installation beginning in 2019.
Prior to that decorative and holiday lighting will be installed in the downtown before the end of the year, with the consultants helping select a new decorative and holiday lighting design using the tenets of the strategy the city developed for the downtown.
“The recommendations include overhead catenary lighting for the Baker and Ward street intersection,” noted the staff report.
Overhead catenary lighting could also be used in the two public amenity areas in the 400 block of Baker Street, with additional lighting options wrapping trees and light standards.
The consulting fees are covered in the 2018 budget, while $85,000 has been allocated to replace a portion of the downtown streetlights. The remaining downtown lights will be replaced over the next four years as the city approves spending the money.
Good things come in threes for Civic Theatre
The Civic Theatre and the city are partnering in a grant application to secure money for the realization of three screens for the city’s only movie house.
The Nelson Civic Theatre Society (NCTS) has proposed a three-screen development initiative and is applying to the Rural Dividend Fund for financial support.
The Civic Theatre requested and received approval of a council letter of support for a funding application to the Rural Dividend Fund, Partnership Stream to “develop a thriving and collaborative Kootenay screen-based industry and to complete the design plans for the project.
“NCTS and city administration are currently in discussions about other avenues to support the larger three-screen development and assistance with other funding applications,” noted a NCTS letter to council. “These will continue.
The city has not committed to direct financial support at this stage but through maintenance and other possible initiatives there may be the potential to contribute to a larger project.
Direct financial support is not crucial to Rural Dividend partnership.
— City of Nelson