Vancouver city council to look at mapping artistic and cultural assets

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      A motion calling for artistic and cultural resources in Vancouver to be identified and mapped is set to go before city council next week.

      Vision Vancouver councillor Heather Deal will introduce a motion requesting that staff work with the recently formed arts and culture policy council to identify the sites, including buildings that are at risk of development.

      “I want to be aware of things, so that we’re not reacting, that we’re out ahead of the curve and sort of identifying things in advance so that if there is something like a heritage designation that could be done that has not been done, that we’re doing that before the crisis point,” Deal told the Straight by phone.

      Deal’s motion also calls for the cultural mapping process to incorporate public input, and for the policy council and city staff to provide recommendations for protection of cultural facilities. The councillor said those measures could including steps such as looking at zoning, or adding more cultural facilities to the heritage registry.

      The proposal comes the week after city council approved a temporary protection order for the Waldorf Hotel as it assesses the heritage value of the site. News of the sale of the hotel to developer Solterra, and the end of programming under operators Waldorf Productions, was met with public outcry this month. 

      Former Coalition of Progressive Electors councillor Ellen Woodsworth said while the cultural mapping is a positive step, she doesn't see the motion as “far-reaching enough”.

      “We’re losing arts spaces and we’re losing affordable housing for artists across the city,” she said in a phone interview. “So I think that the city needs a far-reaching plan to actually not only detect existing artistic spaces, and existing affordable housing, but to actually create affordable housing for artists and artistic space for a range of uses.”

      Deal’s motion will go before city council on Tuesday (January 29).


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      Jan 24, 2013 at 8:46pm

      Wow, I'm happy to see this article and excited to see what the city comes up with. I agree that what they have so far doesn't seem to be enough. I feel that they need a program. They need to speak to those directly involved with the arts community and work to preserve the sites that create and offer a cultural hub(s) for Vancouver. Too many ask the question, "What is Vancouver culture?". Exactly! I'd love to see the city focus on answering the question, "what helps define and shape Vancouver culture and who in the community is doing this?". As a designer and artist, I bet you it starts with just that: the creative individuals in the city.


      Jan 24, 2013 at 11:39pm

      Mapping Vancouver's cultural assets is a great idea. It will make it easier for Vision's developer buddies to find them and demolish them.

      BTW, are there any cultural assets left? I think Vision has already done a pretty thorough job of bulldozing all the character and soul in this city (Yale, Ridge, Park Cinema, Pantages, St. John's Church, Maxine's, Waldorf, the rest). Only now the light bulb goes on about saving something? Great timing folks.


      Jan 28, 2013 at 1:49pm

      This is only because they qualify for funding through the program announced a few weeks ago about Cultural Mapping. Most of that money will go to municipalities and consultants and not to artists. They will hire their consulting friends, pay them a hefty fee and the map will be out dated before the ink dries on their agreement. SHouldn't this have been done before the cultural plan a few years ago? Not a wonder why we pay such high taxes in Van.