Spencer Herbert proposes Mount Pleasant arts centre

A Vancouver park-board commissioner has hatched a plan to transform the old Mount Pleasant Community Centre into an arts facility. The community centre, located at 16th Avenue and Ontario Street, is scheduled to be demolished upon the opening of a new centre at 1 Kingsway that is under construction, but commissioner Spencer Herbert, associate producer of the World Urban Festival, believes it should be converted into an artist-run space.

“There’s been suggestions of an art gallery, studio theatre, rehearsal space, office space, space for dance classes”¦that kind of thing,” Herbert told the Straight.

“The park board is in control of the property.”¦Right now I think the park board needs to be convinced that this is a good idea and that this is something that would benefit the art community and is feasible,” Herbert added, pointing out that he would also like to save the centre’s outdoor pool, which is slated for removal.

Susan Stevenson, executive director of the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance, told the Straight she supports Herbert’s idea. “We’d be happy to have it saved as an arts building,” she said, noting that the GVPTA has sent a letter to the park board stating this wish.

Piet Rutgers, the park board’s director of planning and operations, is not enthusiastic about the proposal, telling the Straight that Herbert’s idea is “inconsistent with the existing plans”.

The future of the building is on the agenda of a public park-board committee meeting set for 7 p.m. Monday (March 17) at 2099 Beach Avenue.