Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Fiscal Responsibility



Following is quoted material originally presented to the Committee of the Whole (COW), 20/03/17. With more detail, partly based on reactions from Colin McClure, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Robin Cherbo, Acting Mayor/Chair.

Absent are Mayor Kozak, Councillor Dailly, Councillor Purcell and Kevin Cormack, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).

COW LIGHT!



Presentation:
"According to Council's approval and the CFO's announcement respectively: funding necessary for road-repairs is to be generated through cost-increases in seniors' bus-passes and meter-parking.

Once funding is in place - done this way surely a very long process - its appropriate use must be ensured: what with Public Works - at wasteful expense - superficially refilling old-familiar potholes for ages. Or not - thus dangerous for drivers and pedestrians! Not to forget - literally and please! - tectonic cracks in sidewalks.


These rate-increases are a simplistic solution, while - with linear foresight - such funds could reasonably be collected from about 40 parking-meters on Hall, between Herridge and Vernon.

It seems bizarre that drivers now may find free downtown-parking on Hall, while - if not so lucky - they not only pay for it just around the corner on Baker or Vernon, but on top of that with a rate-increase.

Substantial revenue from Hall meters - collected during almost a whole year, since completion of that part of Stores-to-Shores Phase 1 - could have been steadily fed into funds sought now.


Colin Innes of Public Works recently talks about replacing old meters with high-tech ones in a year or two - but then only the odd one when falling apart. So - it's actually not all new ones soon. We are vaguely looking at years!
And a good thing too, because - also according to Mr. Innes: we may be too squeamish about an across-the-board change. Therefore, installing these new meters in dribbles will be easier on our fragile collective psyche.

Actually - these newfangled ones  - for some time already used effectively and comfortably in other communities - could have been installed a year ago on Hall: their testing-ground, if you will. Seamlessly logical and fiscally responsible.




My direct question to Council here/now: Why are there no parking-meters - old or new - on these 2 blocks of Hall?"

End of COW presentation



I ask Council specifically "here/now", because I want to know how far they are involved. And if they aren't - who is, what with Stores-to-Shores Phase 1 as a whole turning out to be such a clunker.
Robin Cherbo - as Acting Mayor/Chair - promptly turns to the CFO for the answer, an explanation. An answer in itself - so there goes Council's involvement!




 
About Parking-Meters:
Mr. McClure clearly is unprepared for this particular question, even though he - as the City's CFO - introduced the higher parking-meter rates for Nelson, thus might have considered strong-revenue-generating meters for this virgin-stretch of Hall.
His impromptu reasons are unconnected and non-linear. They come down to this-and-that still in a planning-stage for the Hall Street Plaza, while in my expressed opinion: all planning should have been figured-in, funded and actualized within the overall completion of Stores-to-Shores Phase 1, a year ago. Done - as of! And not still dithered over a year and possibly much more later!
In reality - this was not just a phase but seemingly can go on indefinitely: money for years!


While he says in all seriousness and his own words: parking-meters wouldn't look nice in the wonderfulness of the Hall Street Plaza - I have never known this so-called plaza to be anything but a parking-lot for 20 cars. 

He has nothing to say about metered parking for another 20 cars between Baker and Vernon. Neither is he prepared for how meter-maids can enforce the 2-hour non-metered parking-limit along the 2 blocks between Herridge and Vernon. This essentially meaning: business-people in the area can park there all day without paying anything!


About Road-Work:
Just one example of institutional potholes is the series - for at least 8 years - covering much of the north-side crosswalk of Ward/Victoria. Bad in dry weather - absolutely treacherous in rain, snow, ice, slush. Think people who walk: particularly those with mobility-issues. Wheelchairs, strollers.

Just one example of over years periodically refilled potholes is the one on Edgewood, between High and Vernon. Particularly dangerous because cars and bikes love zooming along there.

The US Federal Highway Administration Manual "cites the throw-and-roll method (used to refill and refill this particular pothole and many more in Nelson) as the most basic method but notes that the failure rate of expedient repairs (such as this type) is high, and that they can cost much more than properly done repairs."

While Acting Mayor/Chair Cherbo cites the top-part of Stanley as an example of good road-work being done now. Why there is a head-scratcher, with minimal vehicular traffic - even counting fire-engines -  in the area. Keeping streets most traveled - leading to/from downtown - in good repair would be more to the point.

While at least some road-work - no matter of what quality - has been done over time: sidewalks have been ignored.


No amount of additional funding for road-repairs will be of public benefit, unless a comprehensive, outward-from-the-
core vision is locked-in - and well-supervised while implemented.

Bringing the Cop Shop into this would help greatly: they know about the dangers of potholes - and where to find them for Public Works.


After I - several times - bring-up poor planning and the lack of fiscal responsibility - in connection with road-repairs and the theoretical loss of substantial revenue from 40 parking-meters - without receiving an adequate response: Acting Mayor/Chair Cherbo tells me that I am repeating myself.

God knows - I try!
   


About Decisions:
City Hall floats vaguely connected in-house ideas in-house - but there is no vision of Nelson as an ever-evolving whole with all-interrelating components.
Committee of the Whole sounds good - but it's really a catchy name for a Council Meeting only.

Nobody is referring to Stores-to-Shores any more: it's just Hall Street. Kevin Cormack, CAO, made that quite clear the other day when he emphasized it was all about infrastructure. In other - not his - words: we are not to expect the leisurely green tourist-friendly/luring walk to the lake any longer, we were promised initially
Silly us have been waiting and waiting for. 




 

Throw-and-Roll;
Throw-and-Roll!






680news.com
Huffington Post Canada
lapotholes.com
cbc.ca
dcrazed.com
Claus



Colin McClure, CFO
cmcclure@nelson.ca

Colin Innes, Public Works
cinnnes@nelson.ca

City Council
nelsoncouncil@nelson.ca

Pam Mierau, Development Services Mgr.
pmierau@nelson.ca

Megan Squires, Sr. Planner
msquires@nelson.ca 

Monday, 13 March 2017

Facebook Intimacy





Cybering
The range of 8,760 documents leaked from within the CIA Center of Cyber Intelligence - recently made public by Wikileaks - rather substantiates that the American hoopla around much of what Russia may have done hackingwise to destabilize whatever in the US: is more of the habitual detraction by the proverbial people throwing rocks while living in a glass house. To keep in mind - no matter who is president: destabilizing foreign governments is the CIA's bread & butter.




Blessed (should) be the leakers and whistleblowers for telling that "cyber warfare" with "cyber weapons" has been run by many gamers, for some time and all over the only Internet there is: mostly by Americans though and not only on foreign soil. Operating within the US ostensibly a no-no for the CIA.

Ostensibly - as soon you may find that possibility uncomfortably close to home - literally - with even worshiping at your TV not safe any longer. It (THEY!) could be listening to you carrying on! Also - using your smartish phone is not necessarily all that smart any longer.
You may think: I'm sorry - none of this could happen here - we're nice Canadians. Again: there's only one Internet, period! So - of course it could!

"I know who you are, and I'm coming to get you!" soon, and there's nothing you can do about it.

UNLESS! 


Facebook
Unless you get with the program(ming) of Mark Zuckerberg's also recent "Building Global Community": 5,700 words on his Facebook page, along the lines of

"To our community,
In times like these, the most important thing we at Facebook can do is develop the social infrastructure to give people the power to build a global community that works for all of us."

Interestingly - this is addressed to "our community", and "we at Facebook" decide what "works for all of us". A new world-order according to Brother Mark. With lots of fuzzy-comfy "Friends, Likes, Shares".
Scientology deja voo all over again!

So far this sermon from the Sugar Mount (Zuckerberg in translation) has generated
5,842 Facebook "Comments"
11,662 Facebook "Shares"
87,838 Facebook "Likes" (as does Martha Stewart, so it is written).


Federico Solmi


Coming from his finally openly declared role as savior of all and everything - this may seem a tad '70s and longwinded. How many will actually make it their own objectively, what with Zuck (as "we at Facebook" call him affectionately) conceding earlier that Facebook has dumbed you down of late. Fake-news and all.
You dumb enough yet?
So - for now - here clicking on Like is the safe way to go for most. Maybe-followers. What with no Don't Like option presented - there's no need for personal decisions: sigh of relief!

Superficially - Brother Mark here presents himself as one of the angels - with Trumping, cybering and what-not on the other - the dark - side. 
But while he has kept everybody busy looking at each other's baby pictures: his bigger plan has actually been rolling out for some time.
Even in little-bitty Nelson.




Facebook/Nelson Star
With Facebook by now known for having become very proficient at helping sift through personal (largely emotion-based) dross, it has been contracted for profit to do this kind of work within specific contexts - like newspaper-readership manipulation.

For some time the flow of readers' Comments at the Nelson Star/Black Hole, the rest of the Black Press chain, as well as other-owned papers - has been independently run by Facebook. At the bottom of each Star web-page - under "Commenting FAQ" - the exhaustive "Facebook Comments: Frequently Asked Questions" lays out not necessarily reality-based terms for reader-engagement.
Facebook taking on an arguably basic editorial function. The implications are scary: for now and - even more so - the future




While in the past one could post/read comments directly to/on the Star's website - this is now possible only for Facebook subscribers. The same applies to emailing articles.

What should concern all readers - however - is that as soon as you click on a particular webpage-heading (HOME, NEWS, OPINION...) you are automatically identified as either Facebookers or heretics.
One - seemingly neutral - click!
As soon as!

Facebookers - clicking on the Comments number indicated above individual write-ups - will be taken to them directly.

Non-believers may! initially see the Comments number indicated, but clicking on that will automatically turn all numbers on all pages to 0
Yet if they sign on the dotted line - voila! - they not only can read and post comments: they also become members of "our community".
Actually - in reverse order!

While all this raises major questions about bias at Facebook and integrity at the Star and other papers, it demonstrates the exclusivity - by now entitlement! - of "our community"!

Yet this single click - theoretically so far, as far as we (don't) know - soon may also lead those in control directly totally into the murkiest depths of the "community's" most personal dross and its manifestations. Who knows? Zuck knows! Not that the adoring "community" cares.

Equally scary is/should be that a non-believer's single click - leading nowhere specifically revealing - could raise a red flag!
Hiding something?

Sooo - ultimately/actually - how different could "our community" be(come) from the dark side?

"Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean it's not happening."


 
Like
The comfort-level of the flock's collective/collected banality - by design - is demonstrated in the use of "Like".

"Nelson passes cannabis bylaw"
                                      Star, Mar 7, 2017
indicates 17 "Comments" and 141 "Likes".

More specific interest is possibly expressed in these 17 "Comments".
141 believers clicking on "Like" means what: aside from mental sluggishness and a vague desire to belong to something more important than oneself. Like - what exactly is to "Like" here? Reporter, councillors, cannabis, bylaw, dispensaries, zoning, fee - lunch?









 
"Heartbeats have no sound on Facebook."
                                                     Growing Home
                                                                   Lee Reid





David Black, Chairman
dblack@blackpress.ca

Rick O'Connor, President
ricko@blackpress.ca

Eric Lawson, Publisher - Nelson Star
eric.lawson@blackpress.ca

Bill Metcalfe, Editor - Nelson Star
editor@nelsonstar.com    

Monday, 6 March 2017

Park(ed)!




PSST!

Looking for free parking: now that meters are to be $1.25, and seniors' passes are upped as well?
You've got 78 options.
Downtown!



1.
Always check Hall first - between Herridge and Vernon: 
2 hrs, 41 spaces. No meters - as in free parking! - while just around the corner on Baker you pay whatever meter-rates. 
Go figure!





2.
Co-op parking: 2 hrs, 37 spaces - ostensibly for shopping members. Shopping really won't take anyone more than 30 minutes, leaving another 90 for downtown chores plus coffee. Or you forget about the shopping and just park.
Seeing that the previous Council approved a Co-op parking-variance, allowing them to ridiculously actually cut required parking by half: they owe us!

It could be that the City is now adding to/compensating for this doozy it created by giving free parking to the Co-op along the stretch of Hall behind it. With said 41 spaces and from them most convenient access to the Co-op through the lane at DeVito's. 
Either would be weird, but then - the City/Co-op relationship has always been tight, even more so with Nelson Commons.    



Maybe (maybe!) there's something to City Hall now needing more funds for road-repair - potholes in roads and cracks in sidewalks ever deepening/widening for some time! - but conditions would be less drastic with continual (less pricey!) proper! maintenance over time, than an often again-and-again-same-hole band-aid approach by Public Works under Colin Innes - if any approach at all!

I remember a Star reader quite some time ago knowledgeably and in detail explaining how to fill potholes properly for good. Instead of!

Attempting to make funding happen through pass/meter rate-increases would only be reasonable if City Hall had already exhausted all other possibilities: with - for instance - 41 additional parking-meters on Hall (and where else?) 11 months ago!


Who is in charge of this down the rabbit-hole?
I mean.... seriously?





Also see post
Seniors' Parking Pass Increase
21 Feb, 2017
2nd below


Credits:
Avalisa
Martine Bedin



Colin McClure, Chief Financial Officer
cmcclure@nelson.ca

City Council
nelsoncouncil@nelson.ca

Pam Mierau, Manager - Development Services
pmierau@nelson.ca

Colin Innes, Director - Public Works
cinnes@nelson.ca

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Stores to (What?) Shores - Phase 2



If you should want to enter the soon to be Prestige & Waterfront Park (now the Dog Walk parking-lot) through a recently approved new entrance inexplicably farther east, you will do so in a complicated and dangerous approach.



Problem 1
Coming down Hall from Front you keep right for your turn into Lakeside. While tall, dense trees block your sightline to the park entrance and oncoming traffic from the mall: you immediately need to somehow get over to the Lakeside-center during this right-turn, what with the park entrance on the Lakeside-left and relatively close.
Without being able to indicate moving left towards it until you actually are on Lakeside proper - too late! - your quick drift to the center by necessity is too sudden too confusing too dangerous. This with airport-to-mall traffic, cars close behind you from Hall, as well as pedestrians out-of-nowhere crossing towards the lake on the new south-north crosswalk - only its far side visible just before you turn. All this needing an even astute driver's fullest attention.



Problem 2
Oddly - Lakeside is to be narrowed here. Therefore, once you align with the park entrance in the middle of the road, those behind you will be stuck while you wait for a break in oncoming traffic.
Plus - there may be a car attempting to leave the entrance/exit-funnel, possibly to turn towards the mall. This can't happen because while you block the exit you also can't back-up to let it. Stuck in a conundrum!



Problem 3
The Prestige Lakeside Resort receives deliveries counter-clockwise via the funnel. So when entering it you may suddenly be face-on with a truck leaving, as because of the exit's S-shape and trees you are not clearly visible to each other.
Meaning: one of you may need to back-up. Problematic for the truck in this S-curve - and you because you can't back into Lakeside traffic.


 WSP/MMM


Problem 4
Tourists driving down Hall for the Stores-to-Shores experience won't know how to get to the shores-part because it's blocked.
In fact - once past the train-tracks they may hardly see the lake behind the Hall Street Waterfront Park (previously the straightforward entrance) and "signage" in it. This needing to be practically billboard-size to inform the ignorant quickly and clearly what/how once they have crossed the tracks.
Expecting these already confused tourists to then suddenly go through the same difficult routine as locals is astonishingly short-sighted of the WSP/MMM Group planning and Council approving this catastrophe-in-the-making.

Particularly perplexing as - under "Preliminary Design Goals" - the planners' Council-approved presentation promises "improving traffic & pedestrian safety".

  
Problem 5
Actually this plan needs Prestige approval before the planners - supposedly - can move on to the next, more detailed design-stage. One expects they will ask more questions than Council.

Here it gets murky, because even if the Prestige should reject the plan-as-is: the WSP/MMM Group gets paid anyway - since Council approved it. And seeing that plans now already are being further developed, based on those approved by Council: the more required changes - the more money! 
It boggles the mind why the Prestige wasn't consulted before this "preliminary design" was put together and presented to/approved by Council.

Who will require/supervise changes, seeing that Council's involvement ostensibly was over after signing-off on the basic concept - as it was with Phase 1. Leaving decision-making then and now to ...? The public was never told with Phase 1.  Will there be a repeat with Phase 2?

This reminds of the Cottonwood Market, where Council threw $82.600 at the Cover Architectural Collaborative for a totally inappropriate design - ultimately quietly rejected some time ago. But the architects were paid regardless and still are with one recent payment of $2.299.50.


  
Solution
In view of expected future development in the area, and with the public so far unimpressed with Stores-to-Shores, Phase 1 - a more conscious approach to Phase 2 would be appropriate. This including the Nelson Police Department for real-time "traffic & pedestrian safety" matters. As well as the Nelson Fire Department for emergency-access to the property.

So why not just somewhat streamline the entrance-as-is-now - but otherwise simply and directly leave it wide-open to the shores. Welcoming!

Save money, too!









City Council
nelsoncouncil@nelson.ca

Deb Kozak, Mayor
dkozak@nelson.ca

Pam Mierau, Development Services
pmierau@nelson.ca

John Lebleu, General Manager
Nelson@PrestigeHotels.ca

Kevin Cormack, CAO
kcormack@nelson.ca

Colin McClure, CFO
cmcclure@nelson.ca

Colin Innes, Public Works
cinnes@nelson.ca  

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Seniors' Parking-Pass Increase



In the public-input segment of the Committee of the Whole (COW), 20 Feb, 2017, a senior citizen presents a strong case against the increase. Admonishing Council for supporting it and reminding them that this will not be forgotten by (our substantial numbers of) seniors in the next local election.
Good for them!
Springing this whopping cash-grab on seniors now - regardless of whether-or-not an increase in itself is reasonable - in its suddenness shows a lack of sensitivity towards a large segment of the electorate. A lack of caring.
It is this lack which upsets many much more than the increase.




The manner in which the topic is discussed/passed later in the same COW shows a disconnect between City Hall and this ever-growing segment.
Which is just about all this administration seems to know about local seniors: generally they're increasing. Under what circumstances is another matter of no acknowledged interest here - except from Councillors Adams and Cherbo. Who are to be commended for wanting to consult with seniors.
Mayor Kozak seems to be under the impression that those elderly having bought into Nelson Commons are a conclusive example of "although some seniors live on fixed incomes, others have more money than many young people". This according to the Star: "some" and "others".




Passing a motion - after the fact - to have "management staff" meet with the "Seniors Coordinating Society" is an attempt at damage-control only. This meeting should have taken place before bringing the increase to Council.
Shades of the 'aggressive-panhandling bylaw', while we had few panhandlers - and none aggressive.

This increase-approval once again shows how Council frequently comes to meetings poorly informed/prepared - to then discuss/decide with anecdotal reasoning and info spoon-fed by Staff.

Even though in this case relevant factual information of numbers/levels was made available to City Hall by and is available at the
Nelson & District Seniors Coordinating Society
719 Vernon St (Civic Centre)
250.352.6008
info@nelsonseniors.ca




What with City Hall's need for additional revenue through parking and this pass-increase to fund road-work, the following is worth noting:

There has been free parking (no meters!) for 20 cars, 24/7, over the last 10 months, in the so-called Hall Street Plaza.
The same applies to 21 spaces on Hall, between Baker and Vernon, while there for a somewhat shorter period due to Nelson Commons construction.
Altogether 41 spaces! 
More Stores-to-Shores Phase 1 shenanigans.

This loss of revenue through meterless parking is substantial - do the math! - while a non-issue at City Hall.

Absurdly - just around the corners on Baker metered parking is enforced. 
So, what gives here?

Raising the seniors' pass-price incrementally - while immediately installing 41 parking-meters - is the reasonable and more revenue-creating way to go.




Caras Ionut
favim.com



Deb Kozak, Mayor
dkozak@nelson.ca

Colin McClure, CFO
cmacclure@nelson.ca

Kevin Cormack, CAO
kcormack@nelson.ca

Colin Innes, Public Works
cinnes@nelson.ca    

Saturday, 28 January 2017

It's (H)all going downhill!



Following is the text of my presentation about the Stores-to-Shores Phase 1 project - focusing on its generally poor outcome - to the recent Committee of the Whole (COW). With a non-scheduled member of the public limited to 5 min, once a month,    I there can't go into great detail - thus add some observations, thoughts after the text quoted below. Also on Phase 2.

Before I begin my 5 min to the COW, Councillor Dailly, also Chair, somewhat vaguely asks me not to mention names. But I don't do Hugs & Slugs. And wonder what his agenda is, as now must others present in the Council Chamber. Is this about shielding others from having to take responsibility?

In politics everybody has an agenda, but no matter how personal politics are at City Hall: my COW presentations and blog-posts are neither. They are a constituent's commentaries in person/print - frequently ending in looking at transparency and accountability among elected officials and administrative staff.
Publicly. 

That's how commentary works in the real world - that's how it ought to work in Nelson.

Yet - while usually done by general news-media - not so in Smallishtown, where the advertising-dollar supersedes the constituency's need to know. Therefore severely limiting local information flow - Facebook Likes hardly constituting that. And that taken into account by those in charge.


   I.O.D.E Park: Will Johnson

Hall St Phase 1: And What Next? - COW 23 Jan, 2017
It would behoove Council to realistically evaluate - never done thus far - what Phase 1 actually did accomplish, then take that into account before committing again to - nothing definitive.
Council was involved noticeably only twice in Phase 1. The first time - in its first public outing after being elected - to present this phase to the public - and the second time to give the shop away.
While what was presented was short on reality-based images: it left the public with the clear impression that the whole Hall St. corridor would splendidly provide a leisurely walk downhill, with greenery, places to rest with benches and public art. That's the story Council had - that's the story Nelson got. Infrastructure adjustments were given way less attention in this presentation.

So what have we got in Phase 1 (and are still to get with the I.O.D.E Park):
1. The Park
With this park-as-was clear-cut, what is left - and will be for years to come - is a steep, rocky hill with spotty top-soil: now prone to being fried in hot sun and eroded in heavy rains. Whatever few very young trees to be planted will provide little cooling shade and extensive enough root-systems to keep soil damp and in place. So - if the two totally exposed benches and one picnic-table should be occupied - there will be no reason for anyone else to climb up there.

The "social steps" at the foot of the park proved to be dangerous immediately: an insufficient barrier to keep more people from falling off was improvised awkwardly - after the fact.

2. Hall St. Plaza
This stretch of Hall - by the public expected to become a tiled PLAZA with benches and greenery, as announced by the MMM Group (presumably in charge of design) - became a parking-lot for about 20 cars. With free - thus heavily money-losing - parking since the transformation, not one but two embarrassingly pretentious posts announce this parking-lot as Hall St. Plaza.

3. Pedestrian-Crossings
The crossings on the north-side of Baker/Hall are designed so that few are using them as indicated, but if all were to: many would wade through rain rushing towards storm-drains placed exactly where pedestrians have been used to (and still are) crossing. These drains are dangerous at any time, but particularly with people unwittingly stepping down into them when covered by snow build-up.

4. Vernon/Hall Intersection
Disliked by all driving in any direction, and pedestrians walking along the north-side of Vernon now expected to cross three times at the intersection, if they want to continue along that side. This north-side crossing was blocked so that cars coming up now don't have to stop for pedestrians, as stopping in adverse weather presumably could mean not making it to the top at all or sliding back.

5. 300 Hall Block
This stretch now is a concrete wasteland with even less safe "social steps", and abundant original greens there and tall trees on the rec-center side removed.

6. Orthodontist Parking & CJLY Lane
Although the importance of retaining this parking-access was agreed to be figured-in - it was ignored in engineered design/execution (now blamed on Telus), just as the lane was disregarded and blocked within that process.

A "Design Review Committee" - run by Kevin Cormack, CAO, but never openly approved by Council - was "supported by the MMM Group". My question in 2015 was and still is: if this committee "reviewed" whatever - "supported" by the M&Ms - who was in charge of actually designing and engineering this mess, and - most important - who failed to control it?

Therefore - what about Phase 2?

Questions Council should ask proactively before funding that: to stop this downhill-slide from ending-up in the lake!

End of COW presentation


         I.O.D.E Park: City of Nelson


Additional Observations/Thoughts - Phases 1, 2
1a  The Park
It is doubtful that the final result will actually look as oversimplified above. Trees will be much smaller. Rocky outcrops and the hill's uneven grade will necessitate major 'terrain modifications'. Paths and rest-platforms will have to be shored-up safely on the downhill-side, kept level, possibly with steps. There may have to be railings. On the plan these platforms and paths take-up considerable space - and one may wonder how much of the layout is based on just wanting to keep the untouchables out (or once in - easily confrontable). There will be no reason for anyone else to be up there: nothing to see or do!

The tree canopy - with its filtered sunlight and extensive roots - used to protect flora/fauna: self-sustained naturally. Installing watering-systems now would be difficult - thus extremely expensive. For what gain? To have an uninteresting, manufactured environment superimposed on one naturally pristine.

The MMM Group's rendering of the Hall St. Plaza shows a luxuriant abundance of trees backing it in the I.O.D.E Park. Considering what has been cut down and is planned: this will never happen.

This park-makeover plan - including the clear-cutting - was not openly/officially approved by Council.


  
 



  




 Hall St. Plaza: MMM Group



2a  Hall St. Plaza
Unceremoniously turning this plaza-as-planned into a parking-lot may have been prompted by the Co-op's parking-variance approved by the previous Council: allowing Nelson Commons to cut under the circumstances necessary parking-spaces by about half. Already their crammed-for-space lot has been full frequently - and this is winter: with few tourists and city folk not inclined to be out and about that much.

As an aside - the Co-op allowing customers to park free for 2 hrs means they can shop there - done in 30 min tops - and comfortably take care of any other business they have downtown!

Anyway - this plaza-to-parking switch also was not openly/officially approved by Council.

3a  Pedestrian-Crossings
When I talked about the odd location of storm-drains on the north-side of Baker/Hall with someone involved in positioning them - he referred to "high-paid engineers" and concerns having to be taken-up with Public Works. Like canes, walkers, heels.

5a  The 300 Hall Block
While the "social steps" at the Hall St. Plaza proved to be dangerous - band-aided with two smallish rocks and one planter: here - with two pubs close by - it will be easy for carousers to fall off these "steps" into traffic moving uphill briskly - what with no STOP sign at the intersection, a few meters away.

Not once did the public see definitive renderings of any Phase 1 segments.

   Hall/Lakeside Intersection - Wharf/Prestige Entrance: WSP/MMM Group


Phase 2 - Hall/Lake to Waterfront
Two items stand-out particularly in its preparatory process:

1.
The intersection of Hall/Lakeside now takes a little more attention to get through - but so what? There are no accidents! Nobody is complaining! Blocking the entrance - where it reasonably is - and moving it east turns it all into the evil twin of the Vernon/Hall intersection.
Cars coming down Hall attempting to get to the dog-walk/wharf (how could tourists even know - without a clear sight-line yet?!) would hold-up just about everybody else, while waiting to get across Lakeside into the entrance funnel. Delivery trucks? Buses? This will not improve - but negatively expand! - the confluence of Hall/Lakeside. A stretched-out three-step whammy!
Also - not to forget: the Stores-to-Shores concept was trumpeted as our only direct downtown/lake link. With this bizarre change - gone!

This decision should not have been made by Council without first listening to Nelson drivers. And concerns from traffic-experts at the cop-shop. A decision made with not enough necessary in-depth preparation and under pressure from consultants who - clearly not knowing Nelson - don't exactly have a stellar record here!
Pressured into having only two choices: roundabout or 3-way-stop. Disregarding a third: leaving it all alone (and making less money)! 


   Wharf Park: WSP/MMM

2.
Little effort was made with this dissociated, unimaginative "concept rendering" of the waterfront to even just give it the semblance of a reality we could possibly expect. "The final design may vary" - I'll say! Lounges? Neck-breaking steps? And - nothing?


Coming from the recent experience of no-plans Phase 1 plans: with the same people behind design, engineering, execution and supervision - history is bound to repeat itself.

Unless formal constraints are applied now by a Council coming to meetings thoroughly informed/prepared.




City Council
nelsoncouncil@nelson.ca

Deb Kozak, Nelson Mayor
dkozak@nelson.ca

Kevin Cormack, Nelson CAO
kcormack@nelson.ca

Colin Innes, Nelson Public Works
cinnes@nelson.ca

Pam Mierau, Nelson Development Services
pmierau@nelson.ca