Green councillor Adriane Carr seeks temporary protection order for Hollywood Theatre
Vancouver city councillor Adriane Carr wants the city to look at changing the heritage designation of the Hollywood Theatre in order to protect the Kitsilano landmark from redevelopment.
A motion set to be introduced by Carr next week proposes that council issue a 90-day protection order for the Hollywood Theatre building on West Broadway.
The councillor said the move was prompted by emails and a petition from a community group calling on the city to preserve the theatre. According to her motion, a development application to change the building’s use from a 651-seat theatre to a two-storey fitness facility was submitted on September 5. The online petition launched by the Vancouver Hollywood Theatre Coalition has gathered more than 1,000 signatures.
“People…were very upset on the west side of the city with the loss of the Ridge…and so to lose the Hollywood is just yet another blow,” Carr told the Straight by phone.
Her motion notes that the single-screen movie theatre was built in 1935 and was owned and operated by the same family until 2011.
She said the building has been “vibrantly reborn” over the last year as it has been used for meetings, film screenings, and arts and culture events.
“They’re keen to try and save it, and the point of my motion is to try and offer a window of time to enable that to happen,” said Carr.
Her motion proposes that the city enter into discussions with the owner of the building, community representatives and local businesses on the feasibility of pursuing Heritage Category “A” status and retaining the heritage features of the site, in addition to the community and theatre use of the venue.
The theatre is currently listed as a category “B” building on the Vancouver Heritage Register, defined as a site that “represents a good example of a particular style or type”. Category “A” is defined as a site that represents “the best examples of a style or type of building”.
“What heritage ‘A’ does is it requires sort of an extra step that provides extra protection for the actual heritage value, both the external and internal,” said Carr. “I really think the inside is…where the value lies.”
The Green party councillor described single-screen theatres as “a real heritage feature”.
“They were a predominant facet of community life,” she said. “I mean, growing up I went to the single-screen theatres, that’s what existed. Everybody went—they were part of really an era in North America, so I think to retain the inside is to really protect sort of one of these unique cultural elements in our cityscape.”