Current Planning Projects

Downtown Parking Strategy

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Railtown Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Plan

The planning process for the Railtown Sustainable Neighborhood Action Plan (SNAP) began with a workshop in January 2016 with over 30 key stakeholders including landowners, business owners, key community groups, the Mayor and other members of City Council.  The focus on the workshop was: Now, Wow, How – What’s great about Railtown NOW?  What would it take to make it WOW? And HOW do we get there?  Lots of ideas and enthusiasm came out of this workshop and it was a great start to the planning process.  This event was followed up by the development of a project webpage which became the information hub throughout the planning process.  The website also hosted three surveys that allowed us to gather a significant amount of feedback as we developed the Plan. 

The Railtown SNAP was developed through a detailed and implementation-focused three-phase planning process that included community and stakeholder engagement, market review and analysis, and close collaboration between City departments.  Development of the Railtown SNAP included three sessions with the Railtown Stakeholder Team and Technical Team, two open houses, numerous one-on-one meetings with Railtown landowners and business owners as well as two open houses, three public feedback surveys and a project webpage.  The top three ideas the public wanted to see in Railtown included mixed use development, a multiuse path across the tracks from Railtown to the waterfront, and extension of the pathway along the creek from Baker Street to Cottonwood Market.  Better pedestrian connections, affordable housing and restoration of Cottonwood Creek were also seen as important in the Railtown area. 

Impetus for the project came from the Sustainable Waterfront and Downtown Master Plan which envisioned intensification of Railtown with a mix of residential, commercial and industrial, as well as better connections between Railtown, the downtown and the waterfront.  The Railtown Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Plan (SNAP) provides a vision and implementation plan for the development of Railtown.  The Plan includes specific projects, and provides recommendations for partnerships, programs and funding sources with an implementation table outlining catalyst actions to build and gain momentum. 

Implementation of the Plan is set to begin in 2018, and will be key to attracting new development and investment to Nelson and achieving Council’s goals of vitality, vibrancy and economic resiliency, by:

•             supporting anticipated market demand for new jobs;

•             providing better physical and visual connections to the downtown, the waterfront and adjacent neighbourhoods;

•             providing brownfield and ecological restoration;

•             providing mixed use and innovative live-work residential/commercial opportunities; and,

•             creating a walkable, livable, compact community that is more sustainable environmentally, socially, and financially.

Downtown Urban Design Strategy

Planning for Nelson’s Downtown Urban Design Strategy began in April 2016. To provide vision and direction for the strategy, City staff worked with a consultant, a stakeholder working group including representatives from the arts and culture, tourism, and architecture and design communities, as well as local downtown businesses, and the public.  The process has included a number of stakeholder and public engagement opportunities including meetings and workshops, a weekend design fest, pop-up booths at summer markets, three surveys at different stages in the planning process and a website. Review of the draft plan is currently underway and will be presented to the public at an open house in March 2017. 

It has been 35 years since Nelson’s downtown was revitalized as part of the Main Street Program.  Since that time, the downtown has grown into a highly successful, charming and vibrant place.  Similar to the servicing infrastructure beneath Baker Street, which is nearing the end of its lifespan, the above ground public realm is also in need of an update. 

The Urban Design Strategy is the City of Nelson’s master plan for the public realm. It will ensure that Council has the direction that it needs to make the necessary investments in enhancements and maintenance over time, including coordination of public-realm improvements with infrastructure upgrades. It includes a comprehensive vision for the future, as well as focused strategies for key elements in the public realm such as signage, sidewalk patios, lighting, street furniture, bike parking, public art, landscaping and public amenities like electric vehicle charging stations and public washrooms.

The Downtown Urban Design Strategy will complement and reinforce recently completed projects in the downtown, including the Stores to Shores Hall Street project and the Railtown Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Plan.  Once completed, the Plan will provide a visual toolkit for urban design strategies specific to Nelson – strategies that will reinforce the city’s renowned character and provide direction for implementation over time.