Page 147

and people seeking inner peace started to flow in, and lobbied with the Provincial and Federal authorities to develop policy around the distinctive architecture. It was seen as heritage now, and heritage was not only there to be preserved, but to form the core of development strategies, where the old can inspire and orient the new. Nelson suddenly showed up as a unique place, with the most heritage buildings in the Province, after Victoria and Vancouver.Beginning in 1977, the Provincial government began the process of developing a heritage strategy for B.C., which included a heritage registry. A few years later, heritage Canada supported the development of a so-called ‘main street program’, an approach to community development leaning heavily on heritage planning. In the case of Nelson, the main street program was a further development of the heritage strategy. In the 1980’s, Baker Street and many others were re- envisioned, and many buildings were renovated by their owners, with government support. Plaster, plastic, wood, and metal siding was removed, old styles brought back but also reinvented, in a colorful manner compatible with not only the past but also with images attractive for tourists and new residents. It worked in many respects, and although there still are tensions between different groups, most locals agree that the current diversity, the rich cultural life and the many outdoors activities, in combination with the cosmopolitan vibe in the wilderness, attract residents and entrepreneurs alike, as well as plenty of tourists. Local research carried out ten and twenty years ago confirms these features as valuable for entrepreneurs and other residents. The internet made it easier for small niche players to settle in this marginal location, and in some cases, the location made it attractive for buyers and for new employees. In 2012, the Community Heritage Commission, a site for bottom- up heritage activism and direct participation, was disbanded and merged with several others, in a sign of fatigue with the dominance of heritage in local planning. However backlash followed and in 2015, a new downtown development strategy emerged which seems to incorporate many of the original insights of the 1979 study. In the 1980s, the example of Nelson’s successful downtown transformation had become alluring, and some of the same designers involved in the Nelson project were attracted to Revelstoke - one prominent figure was Robert Inwood, a former cartoonist and self- taught heritage planner. Revelstoke chose not to fully restore the downtown, but rather to restore some buildings, and reconstruct or rebuild others in styles reminiscent of the old frontier, the old trade routes, Victorian craftsmanship, and local vernacular. A policy to govern the downtown core was drafted, and other neighborhoods followed when they noticed positive results. Highway development and strip development near town was fiercely

Part IV: Boom/Bust:Moving forwards: Strategy-making

135

Profile for University of Alberta Extension

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

Advertisement