Starting in April 2020, the Province will remove invasive ivy that is growing on the Nelson Courthouse and causing 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. Ivy roots and tendrils are degrading the foundation, and there is evidence of water damage inside the building as well.
Previously, a five-year trim-back maintenance plan was in place. It 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. 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.
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. Other items discussed by the group included the project rationale and the risk of maintaining the status quo.
The courthouse, which 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.
Nelson Courthouse: https://www.provincialcourt.bc.ca/court-location/nelson