Mayor Gregor Robertson “strongly opposed” to Port Metro Vancouver takeover of Granville Island

The mayor of Vancouver has weighed in on a media report saying that the federal government is going to transfer the management of Granville Island from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

In a statement, Gregor Robertson said the city is against the port authority, which calls itself Port Metro Vancouver, gaining control of Granville Island.

"Granville Island is one of Vancouver’s most treasured places, and one of the top two tourist destinations anywhere in Canada. It is a national landmark in the core of our city, and a vibrant hub for tourism, world-renowned arts and culture, local food, and small business. Local decision-making and operations are crucial to Granville Island's revitalization and continued success," Robertson said. 

“The City of Vancouver is strongly opposed to Granville Island being controlled by Port Metro Vancouver, and we made our position clear to the Port and the Government of Canada in discussions and correspondence over many months. As Mayor, I have worked to support a transfer or lease to the City, or the creation of an independent local authority with a mandate that is specific to Granville Island’s unique character.

“Port Metro Vancouver will always be an important part of our region's trade economy, but Granville Island’s success is as a cherished centre for local food, the creative sector, and tourism that highlights the best Vancouver has to offer. The future of Granville Island should be built on that foundation.”

Writing in the Vancouver Sun, columnist Daphne Bramham called the transfer of Granville Island a "secret deal that is all but done".

Comments (12) Add New Comment
Greg Ford
Here we go again Mayor Moonbeam stating his public view on things beyond his purview!
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ursa minor
Greg Ford nails exactly what's wrong with Vancouver - too many high profile local attractions like Granville Island and BC Place in the hands of 'senior' governments who could care less about the interests of Vancouver residents.
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Rating: +7
G.I. Tenant
I think the Port Metro Vancouver will do a better job of managing the island than CMHC. They are better positioned to invest in the island and make it better, and see it through the transition of the Emily Carr space. Yes, it would likely be a PR move for the Port, but if they are willing to govern it well and maintain its mandate and invest I don't see a problem. That said, the City would probably make a decent landlord as well, but it would put cultural groups who rely on funding from both CMHC Granville Island and the City in a difficult position. My preferred option is a 3rd party not-for-profit entity as Gregor suggests. This is a very successful model used by similar areas such as The Forks in Winnipeg which is a combined Market / Cultural area. I am concerned that the GI Trust which upholds the cultural mandate of the island seems to be decaying. I suppose only time will tell what will happen.
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realist
mayor Tides is against eveything except bike lanes and green roofs.
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ACMESalesRep
Greg Ford: A major public attraction in the core of the city is “beyond the purview” of the Mayor? Really? Since when?

Robertson's exactly right to say it should be run by the city. That it's still in the hands of the feds is ridiculous.
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ACMESalesRep
Greg Ford: A major public attraction in the core of the city is “beyond the purview” of the Mayor? Really? Since when?

Robertson's exactly right to say it should be run by the city. That it's still in the hands of the feds is ridiculous.
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Save Vancouver
Maybe someobody should tell Mayor Moonbeam that Port Metro Vancouver is responsible for handling all those tourists that come in on cruise ships every year. Honestly, has that man had one too many tumbles off his bike? He's a few spokes short of a wheel.
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Alan Layton
It's not surprising that the mayor wants control over GI. What civic government wouldn't want to be in control of such a gem and one that is used primarily by the citizens of the city? In fact it should be under the control of locals since we know the finer points about the current usage and what people want for the future.

My main issue with Vision handling it is that I think they are looking at the housing projects around GI with an eye for increased residential density. The city has changed dramatically since those lands were developed and when they were built people were skeptical about living on the waterfront, especially one dominated by heavy industry that had turned False Creek in to a smelly, toxic dump. That's why it was aimed at lower income tenants. But those times are long gone and now you pay a premium for a view of False Creek.

If Vision somehow gets control, you can say goodbye to lo-rise co-ops and green spaces around GI.
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WD
And then we have CP Rail clearing the Arbutus corridor. Perhaps a coal terminal in Granville Islands future?
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Alan Layton
WD - as I and others have mentioned, there is no way that a coal terminal is going to built on GI. I have to assume that you're making a joke because the idea is ludicrous.

Having lived along the Arbutus line before and after they stopped the trains, CP used to clear their right away every year, as was required. It is only in the last few years that they have stopped with the major clearing and the only reason they are making a big stink about it is that Robertson wants the rail line for his pet project to use it for light rail as part of his transportation plan (he has said this often). CP wants to get a good deal so they're pretending that they need the line so they can up the ante. CP has said they want to use the line to store cars and also for training, but if you go down to their yards along Kent Ave you'll see that most of the tracks are empty most of the time - I have been driving along there 5 days a week for years and have rarely seen trains running.

What really concerns me though is that Robertson will do exactly the same as CP is threatening, by forcing people to remove their gardens and buildings from the track. I hope that the many neighbourhoods that the line runs through oppose Robertson from building his completely unnecessary light rail along the line. It should be permanently converted in to what it has been for the last decade - a much needed greenway with gardens and a bicycle path.
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JGeeg
If local city government takes over there'll be "LIVE ON THE ISLAND" ads for condo towers going up within 5 minutes.
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out at night
Obviously Gregor Robertson and his party don't think Port Metro Vancouver is up to the job. Why not? Is it because Port Metro Van don't have a history, a track record in the arts and cultural sector, as the city does? City of Vancouver is up to its eyeballs in arts and culture, running community centres with tons of arts programming, theatres, parks (with their highly creative landscape designs, think Seawall and Second Beach pool), and has its hands in museums, festivals, exhibitions, sporting events, public art and galleries. Yup, CoV is a proven steward of billions of dollars worth of arts and cultural assets (not to say every one is a stellar example, but I'm still proud of what has been accomplished by CoV in the arts generally). Why would Vancouver's mayor think CoV would be a capable and experienced caretaker of Granville Island, cultural hub that it is? Why would he think we'd do a better job than an entity with virtually no record in the arts? Gee, you'd think this one would be pretty obvious, but some gotta invoke the old Moonbeam thing even when it's a so-not-one-of-those situations. Some's gotta diss bike lanes no matter what the grown-ups are talking about huh?
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