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Multi-million dollar plans hinted at in shovel-ready project list from the city

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
September 29th, 2020

More than $100 million in city-led shovel-ready projects could be digging into the city over the next few years.

A Health Campus at Mount St. Francis and a new electric ready ferry for Kootenay Lake headline a list of five major projects on the front burner for Nelson, it was announced in city council recently.

The Hall Street Pier Project, New Library Building Project and the Civic Theatre Upgrade Project are also considered shovel ready — meaning they are designed and with a cost analysis — and in line with council’s Economic Stimulus & Financial Stability 25 Point Action Plan.

In carrying out the plan, city staff worked with council and other groups “to identify, prioritize and advance a number of shovel ready projects,” noted city manager Kevin Cormack in his report to council.

Three months ago council reviewed several potential projects in a workshop after a tour of city facilities with the city’s facilities manager.

That workshop and subsequent discussions in council chambers gave rise to the creation of the shovel ready list, and all projects were advanced through several council resolutions and further workshops, said Cormack.

A plan of the plans

The shovel ready projects that have been identified and advanced are not only aligned with council’s Economic Stimulus and Financial Stability 25 Point Action Plan, said Cormack, but are also more aligned with other plans such as the city’s Path to 2040 Sustainability Strategy.

“The manner in which the identified projects tie in with city plans was addressed at some of the workshops that took place over the summer,” said Cormack in his report.

Even so, some on council pressed Cormack for clarification on the rise of the projects as part of a city directive. He explained that the nature of the projects were rooted in council’s own documents, including the Official Community Plan and the Downtown and Waterfront master plans.

“That is your policy documents and those tell us, as staff, what policies we are trying to move forward, it tells our consultants what they need to consider when they are bringing forward these things. That is your policy work,” he said.

The city’s objectives and policy goals are in the planning documents, Cormack said.

“If you don’t think they are reflecting where you are today or where you believe as a council, that’s work you need to do is update those because the rest of us (staff) work based on those documents.”

He said that, guided by the city documents, city staff is looking for projects, grants, partnerships, opportunities, etc, to advance those goals.

Although all of the projects are dependent on either grants or commitment from third-parties, if successful they will require a communication effort, including consultation with the public at large.

Hall Street Pier Project

The project is now at detailed design, which involves all consultants and the partnership companies.

The current pilings of the pier are reaching end of life and should be removed for environmental reasons, a city staff report noted.

At the completion of detailed design and before awarding any contracts a revised budget and final design will be brought to council for approval.

New Library Building Project

This project is moving through the schematic design phase which includes a Class C estimate which is required for the grant application. The design team chosen have expertise in this type of building including developing a showcase sustainable buildings using mass timber.

An update was provided to the Library Board on August 31st and once the Class C estimate has been completed it will be presented to Council for approval and submitted under the CCR grant. The grant application is due October 1, 2020.

In the event the grant is received this will then move into detailed design and which will include an opportunity for the community to provide additional input into the design as it is refined and advanced.

Civic Theatre Upgrade Project

The Civic Theatre Society has received an infrastructure grant for the interior renovations of the theatre.

Access in the current building for both utilities and patrons is difficult. This can be largely overcome by developing a front concourse.

The building is also very energy inefficient and through this project that can be greatly improved.

A grant will be applied for under the Clean Energy BC granting program. The grant application is due Nov. 12.

In the event the grant is received this will then move into detailed design and which will include an opportunity for the community to provide additional input into the design as it is refined and advanced.

— Source: City of Nelson staff report

Categories: General


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