Presentation House Gallery's new location given the go-ahead by North Vancouver

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The Presentation House Gallery is going to start collecting a lot of moving boxes.

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With a resounding 6-1 City of North Vancouver council vote in favour of the new building, the Presentation House Gallery is ready to start a long-overdue relocation. It’s moving from its current Chesterfield and 3rd Avenue location in a 1902 former schoolhouse to a brand-new, central building on North Vancouver’s Lonsdale waterfront.

“Everybody’s thrilled,” gallery director Reid Shier told the Georgia Straight by phone. “I mean, we’ve all been working on it for a long time, and my staff in particular has put in a lot of sweat. The community really came out to support [us] during the public hearing last week, so we were really thrilled by the kind of positive reaction.”

The new location is currently a fenced parking lot; however, the gallery can expect to see the sleek modern creation designed by Patkau Architects as early as spring 2017.

The Presentation House Gallery has a rich relationship with its current location. In 1976, the Presentation House Cultural Society was opened in the century-old heritage building. The many groups inside the society started to splinter off, and in the ’90s, the gallery formally split away from the others.

While the gallery is happy to have the current space, it hasn’t suited its growing needs for a number of years.

“The gallery has long since outgrown its space here,” Shier said. “It’s somewhat difficult to access and it lacks a lot of the infrastructure that we would need to host the exhibitions that we’re doing regularly.”

One of the main features of the new building is the all-around accessibility of the unit. It is in a more central location, so it is easy to access via public transit, and once you get there, no matter what your mobility requirements, it will be easy to move around.

The project will cost roughly $15 million dollars. The City of North Vancouver has pledged $2.5 million in support, and the Presentation House Gallery plans to raise the rest of the funds through its upcoming capital campaign.

According to Shier, the defining moment of Monday night’s meeting was in something that North Vancouver mayor Darrell Mussatto said.

“The mayor kind of summed it up when he said, ‘Now we have the chance, rather than tearing up paradise and putting up a parking lot, we get to tear up a parking lot and put in an art gallery,’” Shiers recounted. “It was quite a nice quote to end our hearing on.”

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