Ward Street Place looking good after first phase of upgrades completed
Nelson Cares Society recently moved past phase one at Ward Street Place with the completion of the fire safety upgrades.
“We wanted to demonstrate our commitment to safeaffordable housing, we respect and care about the people we house,” said Ron Little, Nelson Cares Board Treasurer in a statement.
“Once the funds became available there was no doubt this was going to be our first move. The recent improvements were funded through a new mortgage with BC Housing.”
The first phase of the 100-year-old building at the corner of Ward and Victoria Streets included the installation of a complete sprinkler system, a new fire alarm system and the fireproofing of interior doors by Trainor Mechanical.
The building houses six commercial units, 37 affordable rental units and Stepping Stones Emergency Shelter.
The local contractor,had to completely rebuild the water system in the building before installing the sprinklers in every room; both residential and commercial.
In addition to the new sprinkler system, a new fire alarm system has been installed, as well as much needed electrical upgrades in the suites.
Interior doors were also treated to improve fire safety.
The changes were stepped after fire destroyed the Kerr Building on Victoria Street in 2011.
Nelson Cares also took advantage at the time of the fire safety installations to improve the look of the streetscape and sustain the building’s exterior by replacing crumbling mortar and give the façade a new paint job.
Nelson Cares wants to restore the heritage façade and while completing this work, the original building sign from 1913, “Annable Block” was uncovered when the current sign was taken down.
Since 2002, Nelson CARES Society has owned Ward Street Place and is committed to providing affordable housing to some of our community’s most vulnerable population.
Nelson has lost 61 low-income rental units in the downtown area since 2006 and the demand has continues to grow. (Kerr Block – 38 units; Royal Hotel – nine SRO units; Queen’s Hotel – 14 SRO units).
The next phase of the campaign is to raise funds to refurbish the Victoria Street wing of the building, move Stepping Stones Emergency Shelter to a new location, replace the windows and paint the remaining sections of the building.
This will allow NCARES to put in 9 new affordable housing units at Ward Street Place.
Although the campaign has not yet been officially launched, a number of community members have already made a financial commitment to the work.
“A recent generous donation was made to us by an original owner of the building, Mrs. Isabel Ramsey,” said Jenny Robison, Executive Director of Nelson Cares.
“This made us believe it was possible to get the kind of support we need.”
Completion of the fire safety improvements is part of a larger goal to rejuvenate this historic building in the heart of downtown Nelson BC. Nelson CARES Society is committed to keeping Ward Street Place safe and affordable for decades to come.