Nelson's iconic Boathouse back in all its glory

The Boathouse Nelson is set to be “better than it ever was” as renovations to the heritage building inch closer to completion.

The Wakefield Quay venue was severely damaged by Cyclone Fehi last year, but The Boathouse Nelson manager Amie-Jo Trayes says she hopes the final touches will be finished in time for summer.

“We hope by summer that everything will be as good as, and better than it ever was,” she said.

“I personally think that there are some things we did that made it more of a heritage building. There was the gift of time to stop and think: do these lights fit the look? Does this colour fit the look?”

Cyclone Fehi hit the region on February 1 2018, causing Ms Trayes and Boathouse Community Trust director Alec Woods to flee the building as it was torn apart.

“It was pretty heart-breaking, it was also fairly scary to be quite honest. I’d never seen a storm surge in action, it broke all the rules,” Mr Woods said.

“I was in the building with the manager at the time and a wave came through the front door… that was about the time we decided we had to get out. From then it was a matter of standing on the other side of the road and just watching the building being broken up.”

The Boathouse opened its doors to the public in October after repair work was undertaken.

The road to recovery had not been easy, but Boathouse Chair Annie Henry said the cyclone damage sparked the chance for a much-needed upgrade.

“The first thing I did after becoming the chair was to have a strategic planning session… We talked about the history, the impact it has on the community and where we wanted to see it go… We knew that with a 112 year old building there was going to be a point in time where things had to be changed. So mother nature just helped move that decision much closer.”

“We see the place still have the charm that it has had all these years, but with the upgrade that was so desperately needed.”

She said the Boathouse was at the “heart” of the community, and many would be pleased to see the renovations completed.

“For me, and I think for a lot of people, Nelson is a heart place, and the heart beats when there is a lot of activity and fun things going on, and I think that the Boathouse is part of that. It definitely is a heart place for me.”