Remaking the wheel on the city's waterfront
By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily
Nearly one decade ago Dan Gass was involved in the community-wide development of the city’s Official Community Plan and a waterfront visioning workshop.
Nine years later, he has seen a number of like processes come and go, with the same result: no action by successive councils.
On Thursday night at the Prestige Lakeside Resort, the IBI Group of Vancouver hosted a public workshop and presentation on the City’s waterfront and downtown master plan, beginning to amass input as the City’s consultant on the drafting of the plan.
Gass was disappointed with the turnout — around 100 people — that contrasted with upwards of 2,000 involved in the OCP and waterfront workshop nine years ago.
“I’m not optimistic that things are going to just start flying off the desk and are going to start changing because they haven’t since then,” he said.
“These consultants apparently read those (waterfront visioning) plans to get an historical context of what the ideas of the people of Nelson were, and there were a lot more people involved then than there are here.”
“It’s discouraging that they are changing the plan before it was implemented. It would have been nice, had it been implemented, just to see if it worked before it was decided it was history,” he said.
The waterfront and downtown master plan are intended to provide a vision for City Hall to link the downtown with the waterfront, and intensify land use by incorporating mixed uses (commercial, residential, industrial, public open space).
On Thursday evening, the people in attendance were given the opportunity to highlight what aspects they liked of the material presented so far on several dozen storyboards, as well as give direct comments — via a ‘sticky note’ — on the item they had concerns or questions about.
Earlier in the day, IBI staff spent the morning in a workshop with 30 “stakeholders” selected from a broad base in the community, said Stuart Jones, associate director with IBI. That group included business people and people with a passion for recreation and the arts.
They were asked to comment on the plan, said Jones. However, the notion of the “selected” group did not sit well with some of those gathered during Jones’ presentation in the evening workshop. Herb Couch asked Jones for a list of the people who were stakeholders.
“I was wondering if we could get that list so we could get them our concerns?” he said. “That would be great if you could post the names so we could know who was representing us.”
In the coming days the results of the workshop would be posted, Jones replied, but he would have to talk to City staff to see if posting the names was allowed to happen. He said IBI’s initial strategy was to talk to as many people as they possibly could in a short time, and then get something down on paper, Jones said.
“Sometimes it is easier to react to something and build upon it than start without something (at all),” he said.
IBI would be back in November and would start to come up with real concepts that people could react to, said Jones. As they moved towards Christmas the first draft of the plan would be drawn up, with a draft going to City council in January and a final report coming out in March.
The workshop was intended to help the City’s Development Services and Sustainability Department define the issues for the two plans, as well as to give background information on the projects, with ideas, drawings and diagrams to be included.
The ideas will be consolidated and summarized and posted on the City’s website at www.nelson.ca.
For more information on the City’s downtown and waterfront master plans, please see http://www.nelson.ca/EN/main/services/planning-building-services/sustainability/sustainable-waterfront-and-downtown-master-plan.html.