A view of Baker Street looking east. There have not been Christmas lights on the downtown avenue since 2015. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Readers light up social media over Christmas lights

Star website and Facebook page flooded with comments

Star readers, you lit up social media over the Christmas lights controversy.

Our Facebook and website pages Wednesday fielded a torrent of comments in response to a Bill Metcalfe story in which a city official explained why there are no Christmas lights on Baker Street.

By early Thursday more than 80 people had responded — virtually all stating they wished there were festive lights up on Nelson’s main street. A typical Star story usually generates no more than a dozen comments.

“This is Nelson. We should have the best and brightest festive downtown vibe,” wrote Nicole Seaboyer.

“Salmo has all its lights up and has done a beautiful job of creating holiday cheer, Nelson looks sad with no lights,” stated Rachelle Jones.

Harreson Sinclaire wrote, “Nelson looks pretty sad and pitiful without any lights, city council should go and take a drive to Castlegar and Trail look at how it should be done.”

On that same theme, Cori Meeker added, “I’m always so jealous when I go to Castlegar, they’ve got awesome colourful twinkling lights up everywhere.”

Brita Brown-Wood also wrote about lights elsewhere in the Kootenays, commenting, “We visited Rossland this evening and admired the white snowflake-shaped light forms hanging from the tops of the heritage light standards on the Main Street. Tasteful, understated, and very festive. Made me want to Christmas shop!

Bob Hall weighed in with, “Bringing the downtown alive with Christmas lights is certainly something that our little storybook community needs during the holiday season. The more magic the better. The difficult question that council faces with these kinds of decisions is how does that impacts taxation.”

Ann Cooke stated on the Star website, “Last week I took our grandchildren to Nelson for window shopping, dinner, and a night out. I was really surprised to not see any lights on trees, etc. It used to look so awesome at Christmas, especially with a bit of snow.

City planner Pam Mierau told the Star on Wednesday that a volunteer group used to decorate the downtown until disbanding in 2015. The lights and decorations were returned and the city decided then to incorporate Christmas lighting into its Downtown Urban Design Strategy, which is under development.

Not surprisingly, most of the vitriol was directed at City Hall.

“Excuses excuses city council, get the lights on. We live in the most beautiful city light it up!” stated Bob Bourke.

“Shame on you City Hall …. get your butts in gear,” wrote Michelle Klassen.

And Christopher Burneau asked, “When is election time again?”

Mayor Deb Kozak did address the issue briefly at the Civic Awards ceremony on Monday at the Prestige Lake Resort, saying, “We don’t want to be Scrooge. We will have lights next year.”

The next civic election is Oct. 20, 2018.

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