The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has confirmed it is in talks with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to take control of Granville Island.
Robin Silvester, president and CEO of the port authority—which brands itself Port Metro Vancouver—issued a statement today (July 4) saying that the CMHC initiated "exploratory discussions" on the "possibility of transferring the administration and management" of Granville Island.
"It is too soon to speculate on the outcome of these discussions. The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of Granville Island to the community as a cultural and economic jewel and is committed to maintaining its social, communal and commercial fabric," Silvester said.
"In 1973, the federal government transferred the administration, management and control of Granville Island from the port to CMHC. Port Metro Vancouver owns and operates Canada Place which recently hosted the nation’s second-largest Canada Day celebration for about 300,000 people. Canada Place is also home to major Christmas celebrations and other events, as well as a cruise terminal that welcomes about 800,000 visitors a year."
On Thursday (July 3), Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson responded to media reports by saying that the city is against the potential takeover.
"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," Robertson said in a statement. "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."
In 2008, the port authority was created by the amalgamation of the Vancouver Port Authority, the Fraser River Port Authority, and the North Fraser Port Authority. Plans to increase coal and oil exports through the port have sparked controversy in recent years.
According to a federal government website, the port authority's mandate is to "facilitate and expand the movement of cargo and passengers through the Port of Vancouver; administer the north and middle arms, and lower portion of the main arm of the Fraser River; provide facilities, services and technologies that are competitive, safe, commercially viable, dependable, environmentally responsible and customer oriented and to operate with broad public support in the best interests of Canadians".