Baker Street in the Christmas season. Bill Metcalfe photo

Where are Nelson’s downtown Christmas lights?

People have been voicing their complaints to the Star about this, so we decided to look into it

Baker Street is not looking very festive this year, even though many individual businesses have creative Christmas window displays.

For many years until two years ago, a volunteer group decorated the downtown at Christmas with lights and decorations purchased by the city from the Spurway Trust Fund, a private legacy endowment given for the beautification of the city.

But then the group disbanded and turned the responsibility back to city hall.

“The individual called us and said we just don’t have the time to do this any more,” city planner Pam Mierau told the Star this week, “and so they gave us back all the decorations — lights, wreaths, elves, cutouts, tinsel, many things — most of them are at the end of their life, so it is not like we can just put them back up.”

The city decided instead to incorporate Christmas lighting into its Downtown Urban Design Strategy, which is under development.

“We assessed the decorations and we were also starting our design strategy,” said Mayor Deb Kozak, “and we thought this was an opportunity to pull (the decorations) into a longer term strategy, to think about what decorations were appropriate, to have a plan.”

During the volunteer group’s time, the city purchased lights for businesses downtown to decorate their buildings.

“The lights that were purchased for property owners,” Kozak said, “if you go down Baker they are still on the buildings, but (most of them) are not plugging them in, and I don’t know why.”

Mierau said the draft design strategy includes “a general lighting plan for the downtown as well as a holiday lighting plan. That was on our work plan to do this year, but unfortunately we just never got there. We had a lot of big projects this year. It is on our plan for next year.”

Kozak said there is no budget for a new lighting plan yet but the city hopes to partner with the business community on it.

She said there were some safety issues with the volunteer group climbing to put up lights, especially when it was discovered that the bases of the Baker Street antique lamp standards, on which volunteers were leaning ladders, were rusting, making them unstable.

“Thank God we discovered this before there was an accident,” she said.

Councillor Bob Adams was part of the Christmas lighting volunteer group and he has championed Christmas lights at many city council meetings.

“I am for getting the lights up,” Adams told the Star. “I am not for waiting for a year, two years, to make a plan.”

Adams said he understands the safety issue related to the lamp standards.

“At least light all the trees downtown,” he said. “They are not going to fall over.”

“He is a bit impatient with us,” Kozak said, “because we have not got it together. But that does not stop the business owners from using what they have in place already, on the buildings, or in lighting up things as they see fit.”

Just Posted

Committee presses IH on lab issues in Trail

Seniors Advisory Committee sent a letter to Interior Health last month

AM Ford rallies behind Cuban baseball team

Ashman leads drive to donate baseball gear for Cuban teams

Union de Reyes and Trail AM Ford Orioles entertain full house

Union de Reyes, Cuba impressive in series sweep of Trail AM Ford Orioles

First Nations included in latest Columbia River Treaty talks

Seventh round of negotiations between Canada and U.S. wrap up in Washington D.C.

Close to 1000 people expected to hear international evangelist Angus Buchan this weekend

The Mighty Men’s Conference is taking place in Castlegar June 28-30.

Astronaut David Saint-Jacques returns to Earth, sets Canadian space record

Native of Saint-Lambert, Que., set a record for longest single spaceflight by a Canadian at 204 days

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit, reaches 35-year lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

Thieves steal two $40K chairs featuring gold serpents from Vancouver furniture store

Chairs believed to be the only two of its kind in Canada, police said

Poll: Rising gas prices force B.C. residents rethink summer road trips

63 per cent of respondents reported gas prices are impacting their day-to-day finances

PHOTO: Moose cow and calf relax in Williams Lake flower garden

The homeowners got a surprise when they checked their most recent surveillance footage

Two in hospital after plane crashes in Okanagan Lake

RCMP say wheels left down caused landing plane to overturn on lake

The world’s Indigenous speakers gather in B.C.’s capital to revitalize languages

Organizers estimate about 1,000 delegates from 20 countries will be at the conference

Companies need clearer rules on workplace relationships, study suggests

One-third of Canadians have been in love at work, and half say no policy on the matter exists

‘Text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millennials’ skulls, researchers say

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

Most Read