Railtown Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Plan

From plan to action - making the Railtown SNAP happen!

The City of Nelson enabled the land use changes recommended in the Railtown Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Plan (SNAP), as well as permitted cannabis micro-processing in the MU3 (Railtown Mixed-Use Residential & Commercial) and the MU4 (Waterfront Mixed-Use Industrial & Commercial) Zones. The Federal Cannabis Regulations were amended on October 17, 2019 to allow for new products: edible cannabis, cannabis extracts and cannabis topicals. 

Thank you for everyone who participated in the public hearing, open house and online community dialogue about cannabis processing - we appreciate your time and feedback! 

Here is a summary of the changes to add vitality to Railtown:

SNAP Photo 1

  • Enabling the following uses in the Railtown Mixed-Use Residential & Commercial Zone (MU3):
    • Art Gallery and Museum
    • Care Services
    • Cannabis Micro-processing
    • Early Childhood Development Centre
    • Entertainment Facility
    • Health Services
    • Indoor urban farming
    • Mobile Food Vendor
    • Mobile Retail Vendor
    • Multi-Unit Residential 
    • Printing and Publishing Establishment
    • Professional/business offices
    • Public Administration
    • Public Assembly
    • Social Services Centre
  • Enabling the following uses in the Waterfront Mixed-Use – Industrial & Commercial (MU4) Zone - this area includes Railtown and the neighbouring industrial area on Lakeside Drive. 
    • Cannabis micro-processing
    • Fire Hall
    • Indoor urban farming
  • Expanding the definition of ’Custom Indoor Manufacturing’ to allow tasting rooms, seating and educational programming.
  • Bringing the remainder of Railtown into the ’Downtown Parking Area’ and the Sign Bylaw ’District A.’

How did the project unfold?

  • Thank you to everyone who came out to the Nelson District Rod & Gun Club on September 25, 2019 to explore land use changes recommended in the Railtown Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Plan!
  • Council began the approval process for bringing updates to the Zoning Bylaw in November and December 2019, and expanded the project scope to include a review of cannabis processing. See here for more info on Cannabis legalization in the City of Nelson.
  • A public hearing on the proposals was held on Monday, February 3, 2020. Council adopted the bylaw amendments after the Hearing.

Do you have questions, comments or feedback to share?

Please contact Planner Kristin Aasen at kaasen@nelson.ca or 250.352.8118. 

What has the City accomplished to date in the neighbourhood?

  • Creation of the Railtown Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Plan to attract new development to the area by providing better downtown connectivity, enabling mixed-use and innovative live-work opportunities, developing brownfields, encouraging ecological restoration and creating a walkable, livable compact community.
  • Adoption of the new Railtown Core Commercial Zone (C4) for the north end of Railtown (in the ‘Live-Work’ and ‘Railyard’ Precincts - see map below).

  • Inclusion of the north end of Railtown into the ‘Downtown Parking Area’ which enables a financial contribution to the City’s Active Transportation Reserve Fund in lieu of providing off-street parking spaces for new buildings.

  • Reduced the parking requirements to encourage mixed-use commercial/residential buildings and enabling car-sharing as an option to displace up to four standard parking spaces.

  • Façade improvements on the Coke & Gas Work building (610 Railway St)

  • Working in partnership with the Nelson District Chamber of Commerce to bring public space enhancements to the Railtown Plaza (2020).

Precinct concept:SNAP 3 - precincts

What is the Railtown Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Plan (SNAP) all about?

The SNAP outlines an exciting vision and action plan for the development of Railtown to attract new development and investment to Nelson by:

  • providing better physical and visual connections to the downtown, the waterfront, and adjacent neighbourhoods;
  • providing brownfield and ecological restoration;
  • providing mixed-use and innovative live-work residential/commercial opportunities; and,
  • creating a walkable, livable, compact community that is more sustainable environmentally, socially, and financially.
  • initiating key projects, partnerships and outlines ‘Big Moves’ to build and gain momentum to kick start development.

The planning process involved hundreds of residents and community members including business and landowners, developers, community groups, architects, as well as the Mayor and Council. The theme focused on Now, Wow, How – What’s great about Railtown NOW? What would it take to make it WOW? And HOW do we get there? The ideas and enthusiasm came out of workshops, open houses, meetings, community surveys, project webpage and also included market review and analysis.

The top three ideas proposed by the community include mixed-use development, a multi-use path linking Railtown to the waterfront, and extension of the pathway along Cottonwood Creek from Baker Street to Cottonwood Falls Park. Better pedestrian connections, affordable housing, and restoration of the Creek were also seen as important in the Railtown area.

Implementation of the SNAP began in 2018, with the development of the new Railtown Core Commercial (C4) zone, including the new C4 parcels in the Downtown Parking Area and updating parking regulations. This next phase is expanding the range of permitted uses in the remaining areas, bringing more options and flexibility to zoning.

SNAP Photo