Today’s Poll

New permanent patio to be added to the city’s downtown roster

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
April 28th, 2021

In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of . . . a sidewalk café.

The Hume Hotel will be looking to take it outside permanently with the approval from the city to develop a permanent sidewalk café along the Ward Street frontage to serve the Mike’s Pub portion of the hotel building.

The Sidewalk Café Bylaw typically allows for a café on a temporary basis (from May to November), but there are no provisions for a sidewalk café to be operated and installed year-round.

Coun. Janice Morrison did hesitate to fully embrace the application for permanent residency.

“I did have some concerns about it initially, but having spent some time on that block and viewing it up and down, I have a strong level of comfort in voting for this proposal before us,” she said.

Given that the structure is located on public property, an encroachment agreement will be required. Nothing is permanent, said city manager Kevin Cormack, because the city does have the ability to end agreements.

“What we mean by permanent is it’s not removed at the end of every patio season. It is public land so we can’t just give away or lease away public land forever. We always have that licence to occupy,” he told council.

A licence to occupy lasts for three years.

City senior planner Sebastien Arcand said the design and location of the patio do not impede the use of the sidewalk on Ward Street — which has a relatively wide sidewalk with few urban amenities (benches, trees, public art, etc.) — and the proposal was well within the requirements of the bylaw.

The design is also complimentary to the building and public space, he added in his report to council, while the scale and height of the structure are sensitive to the pedestrian environment.

“A recent community survey suggest that patios are generally seen as being a positive addition to our city,” Arcand said. “This proposal will generate more activity along this fairly quiet section of the downtown.”

Although the Hume Hotel already has three very small patios hotel general manager and owner Ryan Martin felt they were not adequately serving the needs of the hotel’s patrons during warmer months.

He pointed to the style of the Library Lounge patio as an example for the pub.

“It is our vision to play off the design of this patio and have a Mike’s Place Pub patio that extends from its main doors down Ward Street to the end of the first three windows,” he said in a letter to council.

In order to not affect the quality stay of the overnight guests, Martin said they would likely close the space earlier than the midnight curfew that the city has imposed on patios.

Year-round criteria

In order to be considered as a year-round sidewalk café an application must meet the following criteria:

  • the design and location do not impede circulation on the sidewalk;
  • the location does not impede snow clearing and other required maintenance of the sidewalk or public space;
  • it does not occupy on-street parking stalls;
  • the design is complimentary to the building and public space;
  • the person enters into a covenant/encroachment agreement with the city on terms satisfactory to the city; and
  • any other specific conditions related to the proposed location are deemed acceptable.

Source: City of Nelson

Railway city-owned homes on the chopping block

Two city-owned homes on Railway Street have reached their end of life and are scheduled for demolition.

City council passed a resolution stating the 710 and 712 Railway Street properties be disposed of (sold) and remain in the current state until such a time that they are purchased.

Included in the resolution is that the abatement and demolition of the properties be the responsibility of the purchaser, as well as addressing the slope stability concerns.

Structural integrity is not sufficient for relocation. Significant settling has occurred, and the floors and walls illustrate substantial movement in certain areas.

The houses are 2×4 stick built, with little to no insulation in most areas. Architectural finishes are completely end of life. Bringing these buildings up to current code would be an extraordinarily costly effort per square foot. 712 Railway has a second-floor ceiling height of 6.5’. The buildings have had multiple additions “tacked on” over the years which would complicate the relocation. The substantial amount of hazardous building materials is another area of concern.

The estimated total cost to return 710/712 Railway to raw land would be $213,000, according to city facilities maintenance manager, Peter Sinstadt.

“List the two properties for public sale to solicit proposals from prospective buyers with covenants dictating the future use and required timeframe to demolish and redevelop the site,” he wrote in his report.

Categories: General

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