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.