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Invasive Ivy to be removed from Nelson Courthouse

It has been etermined that the ivy is threatening the building’s structural integrity, including obstructing gutters and downspouts, preventing proper roof drainage, and damaging the chimney, roof and soffits. — The Nelson Daily photo

The Courthouse in Nelson is going to get a bit of a facelift starting sometime in April as crews will remove invasive ivy that is growing on the landmark structure.

The reason —  invasive ivy causes building-integrity risks.

“A recent assessment by Fairbanks Architects Ltd. determined that the ivy is threatening the building’s structural integrity, including obstructing gutters and downspouts, preventing proper roof drainage, and damaging the chimney, roof and soffits,” the BC Government media release said.

“Ivy roots and tendrils are degrading the foundation, and there is evidence of water damage inside the building as well.”

The release said previously, a five-year trim-back maintenance plan was in place, which proved to be costly and inefficient due to the ivy’s rapid growth.

The original stone for the building, Kootenay marble, is soft and susceptible to damage.

The Province is contracting Cornerstone General Contracting to remove the ivy without the use of chemicals.

“The work must get underway in April,” the media release said. “Timing beyond that would incur additional costs as the ivy will be in bloom.

“In carrying out this work, the contractor will follow the rules of the provincial health officer.”

The release said once the ivy has been removed, the courthouse will be thoroughly inspected for any further indications of damage.

Repairs and future maintenance work will be identified and prioritized.

A Nelson citizen is checking with a local nursery to see if it is possible to move, at their cost, the ivy root ball to different locations in the community or to individuals who may want a clipping.

“This idea was the result of a stakeholder group meeting held earlier this month,” the release said.

“Other items discussed by the group included the project rationale and the risk of maintaining the status quo.”

The iconic courthouse, which is located in the 300 block of Ward street next to City Hall, was designed by Francis M. Rattenbury and constructed in 1908, has heritage status in Nelson.

Rattenbury also designed the Parliament Buildings and the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria.