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Nelson council agrees to underwrite tramway track repair

The City of Nelson has agreed to provide up to $100,000 to the Nelson Electric Tramway Society as part of the contingency on a major track repair.

Council heard Friday that the society is embarking on replacing its tracks, which cultural development officer Joy Barrett called “a huge project” that could cost around $1 million.

“It was determined a couple of years ago that they needed to entirely replace the track, the railbeds, the spikes, etc.,” she said.

Barrett said the society had been waiting for a large grant opportunity to come up, which happened in January. They put forward an expression of interest to the provincial destination development fund, intended to enhance tourism infrastructure and experiences.

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However, they were told they didn’t make the shortlist for the second round. However, late last month they got word that some of those groups who did advance were unable to make their projects work and they were invited to put forward a full application ⁠— by noon Tuesday.

In addition to a letter of support, Barrett said the society was seeking up to $100,000 from the city to put toward a 20 per cent contingency on the project as well as an in-kind contribution worth $50,000 towards landscaping.

Council agreed to the requests.

Barrett said the society will likely find out within a month whether they are successful with the grant and would then have until the end of March 2025 to do the project, which would likely not start until this fall.

City manager Kevin Cormack noted the project involves infrastructure on the ground, but does not include poles and wires. He also said the housing project next to the mall, on the former Kutenai Landing site, will mean street and pathway improvements along that stretch.

Streetcar 23 operated in Nelson from the 1920s until 1949. Restoration was completed in 1992 and it has since operated on a route between Lakeside Park and the Prestige Lakeside Resort.

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