MARTIN DE RUYTER/STUFF
Michael Murphy, left, Pete Chapman, Matt Reid of Scott Construction, Dean St Germain, Jessica St Germain and James Donaldson, director of the Nelson Center of Musical Arts, with the new bike rack made from the remains of a fence .
Retired engineer and inventor Pete Chapman designed a bike rack for the Nelson Center of Musical Arts from the remains of a wrought iron fence that once surrounded the original building.
Formerly known as the Nelson School of Music, historic footage shows the fence ran around the corner site at the intersection of Collingwood and Nile streets. It is believed to have been installed shortly after the building was constructed in 1901.
In 2018, the center reopened to the public after a multi-million dollar redevelopment. That same year, a decision was made to limit the reinstatement of the fence to sections of the garden along Collingwood St. Unused remains remained in storage.
Chapman, a longtime Nelsonian who is an usher at the center as well as a part-time caretaker, noticed the bikes would be left outside the building at 3:15 p.m. every day and offered to reuse those leftovers in a stand.
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The work had lasted for hours.
“You can’t weld cast iron — not easily,” Chapman said. “I had to play with it.”
Luckily the rails were steel, so Chapman welded the wheel mounts to those rails, avoiding the iron posts. He also had to account for different sized wheels on different sized cycles when designing the stand.
Chapman had support. The Scott Construction crew helped move the remains to their yard where Chapman worked on the stand. Nicholson Protective Coatings, Independent Curb & Concrete and neighbor Michael Murphy also contributed time and resources to the project.
When it came time to position the completed bike stand, Chapman was clear on where it needed to be installed.
“Here, where I used to play when I was a child,” he said, pointing to the facade of the building on Nil Street.
Nelson Center of Musical Arts director James Donaldson described the new bike rack as “an inspired way to turn something that was built to keep people out of the building into a feature that helps us welcome the people”.
“Like the founders of our iconic Nelson Taonga, Pete is one of those special people who can take a vision and make it happen,” Donaldson said. “He has created a truly functional sculpture that aligns brilliantly with the history of the building and the town, yet will be used daily by generations of Nelsonians as they come together to make and enjoy music.”
There is more to come. Chapman plans to create a smaller stand from another remnant of the original fence, to be installed on the other side of the gate along the Rue du Nil facade.
BRADEN FASTER / TRICK
Architect Andrew Irving talks about the redesigned, renovated and restored Nelson Center of Musical Arts. Video first published in August 2018.