Why do we need an Urban Design Strategy?
The downtown district is the commercial and cultural heart of our community and it is important that we have a comprehensive plan and vision in place – a road map of sorts – for this vital area. An Urban Design Strategy will ensure that Council has the direction that it needs to make the necessary investments in enhancements and maintenance over time.
The goal of the Strategy is to build on the authentic qualities of our downtown and to explore opportunities to refresh and enhance our public realm.
Like other parts of the city, infrastructure within the downtown area is nearing the end of its lifespan and it will need to be replaced in the coming years. An Urban Design Strategy will ensure that Council is prepared for public-realm improvements to be implemented in coordination with infrastructure upgrades.
With recent upgrades and advancements on either end of Nelson’s downtown – the Stores To Shores Downtown Revitalization Project to the east, and the Railtown Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Plan to the west – the City is now well positioned to move forward with plans for Baker Street and the downtown core.
What is the process for creating an Urban Design Strategy?
The City is working in partnership with MVH Urban Planning and Design Inc. to create an Urban Design Strategy. There are four phases in the planning process. Phases one and two were completed in the spring of 2016, while phases three and four are slated for the summer and fall.
Phase one (April – May) – The project team hosted a downtown stakeholders breakfast meeting and a community workshop to assess the current conditions and opportunities for the public realm.
Phase two (May – June) – Information and feedback gathered in phase one will be discussed and further refined in a two-day design charrette, called Design Fest.
Phase three (July – August) – With the help of a Selkirk College summer student, the City will literally take its Strategy to the streets, through a series of ‘pop-up’ displays that will profile individual strategies and create opportunities for public feedback.
Phase four (September – November) – Draft urban design strategies and a plan for implementation will be presented at a workshop and open house. A final Urban Design Strategy will be presented to Council at the end of November.
Who is involved?
City staff are working in partnership with MVH Urban Planning and Design Inc. to complete the Urban Design Strategy. A working group made up of stakeholders representing local downtown businesses, arts and culture, tourism, and architecture and design has come together to help advise and guide this planning process.
Read more: The vision