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Construction on Nelson’s new welcome signs expected in spring

Construction on three new signs welcoming residents and visitors to Nelson is scheduled to start as early as this spring. 

Development services director Sebastien Arcand says the basics are done and now the city has to focus on tendering out the project for construction.

“We had to do a bit of background in terms of getting structural engineering,” he says. “Getting the tender package ready to send out to the community to get a bid on building the design.”

Arcand says the city has budgeted for construction to start in spring, but with the economy as it is there could be higher costs associated with the project especially if the tender is awarded to a non-Nelson construction company. 

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“Our funding, and what we got from the province was based on $50,000,” Arcand says. “We feel that when the grant application went in that was reasonable, but it’s no surprise that construction costs have skyrocketed, so we still don’t know.” 

He says the city is trying to work with local contractors to build the signs to keep costs low but that is only able to be done if local tenders step up and bid. 

“What we are really trying to do is work with local contractors,” he says. “It doesn’t mean that outside vendors can’t bid, just to keep costs down we are really looking for local companies.”

Arcand says the final product should show the city’s diversity and reflect its heritage.

“We are consulting with local First Nations to explore design options,” he says “The options are around language or artwork.”

A design competition launched last July received 30 submissions, which a design review panel shortlisted to seven finalists, who were then invited to submit detailed designs and cost estimates.

In an online community poll, Max Vos Coupal’s winning design beat out the four finalists by a margin of 70 votes. 

The new signs will pay homage to the existing ones, which were designed by Art Waldie and installed in the 1960s and then replicated in 2001.

Arcand hopes to have a contractor ready to go early in the new year to build the winning sign that was chosen on Feb. 8.

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