The Nelson Electric Tramway streetcar will be rolling on the waterfront tracks this spring.
Running the streetcar was in doubt after a section of track outside the Chahko Mika Mall started to spread apart, creating a risk for derailment.
Project manager Jim Robertson says workers have repaired the track and they’ve raised about $40,000 of the $80,000 needed for the repair.
“I still haven’t been able to garner the $80,000 that we were looking for but the repairs are done and going forward it looks like we’re going to be running this year,” a relieved Robertson told Vista Radio.
Robertson says they’ll going to have to dip into some operating funds to make all the numbers work.
“The other half will have come out of our own personal funds. I’ll have to strip a part we owe the City of Nelson for long term debt. So, we’re going to be able to do it but it’s going to be very, very tight.”
Robertson says the electric streetcar is a major part of regional tourism, carrying an average of 20,000 passengers in a season – both locals and tourists from as far away as Russia and Siberia.
“We’ve seen people from all over the world come in. You name a country in the world and I’m sure we’ve carried the individuals on our car. I think we are an important part of the tourism industry,” Robertson said.
The streetcar plans to roll down the track at the beginning of the Victoria Day weekend – Friday, May 20.
Robertson says they are still looking for donations and with an aging volunteer pool, they are looking for younger help. Most of the volunteers are older than 75 with the oldest at 95.
“We have 47 plus qualified drivers. We have a good base but we’re getting old,” Robertson explained.
You can find more information on volunteering and how to donate on their website.