The Hall Street redevelopment won’t be completed for another six months, but work is underway to make the project a little less painful for business and traffic.
Colin Innes, the city’s public works director, took questions and suggestions Friday morning from business owners affected by the partial closure of the 100 block of Hall Street. Most of the feedback centred on traffic flow, the alternate route on Cedar Street, signage and access to businesses.
Innes said his goal is to make the situation as easy on everyone as he can.
“When you think of Hall Street as such an important conduit of traffic, and to pull Hall Street out of service, that is going to cause disruption,” he said. “What we’re really trying to do in working with people is minimize that or try to do what we can to help them.”
The $6.8-million project, two-thirds of which is being paid for by a federal infrastructure grant with the remaining coming from the city’s utility reserves, is being done to upgrade old water and sewer systems beneath the street, as well as update the look of the area.
The plan was finalized in April 2017 and work began last month. The 100 block of Hall Street is set to re-open June 15, but in the meantime the transition has been less than ideal for local businesses.
Randy Horswill, who owns Home Hardware’s Lakeside Drive location, said his customers have said it’s a struggle to get to his business.
“My concern is people do have choices, and if they find it too much of a struggle to get to us they are going to choose to go somewhere else.”
He added he was content with the communication done by the city and contractor.
Other concerns included parking for customers with poor mobility, the difficulty drivers face leaving the Prestige Lakeside Resort parking lot, and access for emergency services.
Mayor Deb Kozak said the meeting was an important one for the city, which has to juggle the needs of business, the restrictions of working around CP Railway-owned land, and the traffic on one of Nelson’s busiest streets.
“Infrastructure projects like this only happen once every 80 to 100 years. These business owners just happen to be the lucky ones in that time loop. …,” said Kozak. “Staff is going to take those away, see what’s possible and what can be done to mitigate some of the impacts businesses are feeling.”