Original Published 02:09 May 29, 2022

By Timothy Schafer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A waterfront outdoor public pool will be the main feature added to the city’s arsenal of recreational amenities this year as the capital plan for 2022 takes shape.

The city is planning to construct a public outdoor pool for a “new dimension of recreational activity at the pier” when the Hall Street Pier project is launched this summer.

Called a key project by city chief financial officer Colin McClure, the city is undertaking the capstone of the “Stores to Shores” vision culminating pier overhaul, the public pool and the Ladybird installation along the waterfront.

The city has already been approved for $1.5 million in grants to fund the construction of the new waterfront pier and Ladybird display, McClure explained. 

“With significant inflationary costs to steel, wood and labour, a new design was required to assist in the escalating cost,” he said recently when he delivered his annual fiscal budget, including the capital plan. “The approved design will add what is believed to be a very popular option of a swimming area.” 

Even with the new design, the escalating cost of materials will result in the city needing to add $1.1 million dollars over two years to complete the new design —a sum the city can muster without borrowing, McClure noted.

The masterplan for the pier retains the essential features of: an event space; access and connection to the water; a canopy structure as landmark and shelter; and a Ladybird display. McClure said the public outdoor pool area could, at some future date, be “infilled” with the remaining length of the pier. 

The project could quickly proceed into construction, he explained, with details of the public outdoor pool being resolved during demolition of the existing pier. The gateway canopy — which requires some re-visioning — is headed for a 2023 completion. 

Further afield

The pier project is just one of the capital projects the city has on the books for 2022, said McClure, with over $23 million worth of projects on the slate.

The current year roster includes the replacement of the “Welcome to Nelson” signs based on the design competition results, improve wayfinding signage, and the building of a washroom and shade structure as well as other improvements at Cottonwood Park. 

“These new projects are in addition to the ongoing annual $1.2 million in paving and sidewalk upgrades that Council has committed funds towards in order to improve our City’s vehicle and active transportation system,” said McClure. 

Also planned this year is the completion of the pump house near Anderson Creek that will take water up through the pipeline installed in 2021 to the Mountain Station Reservoir. 

“This will complete the $6 million, grant-funded secondary source project that started in 2020 with the installation of water piping alongside the rail trail connecting Selous Creek and the reservoir,” McClure said.

Some of the larger capital projects — like the $10 million multi-year Civic Centre deep retrofit and revitalization project — are included in the budget but are grant dependent. 

“At the (time) of this report there has been no announcement made from the province as to whether the grant applications have been approved but staff are hoping and anxiously waiting,” said McClure.

This item reprinted with permission from The Nelson Daily, Nelson, British Columbia