Vancouver could have a proposal for an arm's-length arts council by springtime, according to Vision councillor Heather Deal. “It will probably take at least a couple of months to do”¦research, and then go out and do consultation with community and staffing and come up with a recommendation [for an arts council model],” she said.
Deal said her other priority was to protect artists' work spaces by changing city zoning bylaws: “That's a bigger piece of work, and I'll be asking staff to work with me in finding out what those implications are,” she said. “For instance, if you take an area that's currently zoned for a higher use, and you do what's called down-zoning it to a different use, which in theory depletes the value of the land, then we have to compensate people.”
Deal credited the artists of 190 Prior Street (formerly 901 Main Street), where a developer is planning to build high-end apartments, with raising the issue's profile. “I've talked with the 901 people a lot,” she said. “We may or may not be successful”¦but it absolutely highlights the need to have protective zoning for creative space.”
On December 8, council voted to appoint Deal as the nonvoting councillor liaison to Vancouver's public art committee and the Vancouver Heritage Commission. Vision Vancouver councillor Tim Stevenson has been appointed as the nonvoting councillor liaison to the Vancouver Civic Theatres board of directors.