Nelson City Council Discusses Heritage Master Plan

Nelson City Hall building

Nelson City Council approved a highly anticipated Heritage Master Plan last week after 26 months of hard work.

The plan identifies strategies and priorities to retain and improve heritage assets. Implementing these assets into planning policies, practices and bylaws aims to help show Nelson's contemporary age without losing it's touch.

Councillor Keith Page says it's important the heritage of the community is protected as much as any building or amenity:

“How do we appreciate these places so we’re not just building, for lack of a better example, a playground for the rich? A beautiful place that is appreciated by a select few that can afford to appreciate it, but doesn’t really ring forth the town as it existed in the 50’s or the 70’s or the kinds of families and income levels….”

Councillor Rik Logtenberg says while the plan does a great job of raising key issues; he’d like it to further justify those decisions:

“Because when you have all of these competing priorities, you’re going to ask the question ‘why are you prioritizing this over that?’, and if you’re just saying it’s because Nelson residents feel it’s important, it’s not a very satisfying answer. It’s hard to really weigh that….”

One presenter defended the City's adored architecture but Logtenberg explains that's exactly the reasoning that he wants the plan to provide. Councillor Cal Renwick expressed concern about a lack of grant funding availability for some of the proposed actions:

“I go downtown and there are building owners and there are building owners…. There’s really good ones…. and some really bad ones, and unless somebody else is paying the tab for some of these really bad ones, do you know what’s going to happen to those buildings? Nothing…. I’m saying this as a heritage building owner and I don’t want to see this become a situation where if you own a heritage building you must comply you must do this you must do that and ‘oh my god I can’t afford to own this building anymore’….”

The delegation says Nelson has suffered from trying to reproduce a heritage look, but current best practices are moving towards being more real. Proposed actions include engaging staff in using best practice heritage standards for planning and development. Click here to give the plan a proper look.