VanDusen Association wants to run Bloedel Conservatory

Two nonprofit organizations have come up with a joint proposal to operate and manage the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park.

John Coupar, president of the Friends of the Bloedel Association, told the Straight by phone that his organization and the VanDusen Botanical Garden Association will submit their plan to the Vancouver park board today (April 29).

Coupar said the proposal is modelled on the management of the VanDusen Botanical Garden, which is a shared undertaking between the park board and VBGA. The Bloedel is run solely by the park board.

“The two nonprofit associations would merge, with the Friends of the Bloedel becoming an identified, active committee within the VanDusen Botanical Garden Association,” Coupar said.

Former VBGA president Henry Hawthorn noted that his group has been working with the park board for over 40 years in managing VanDusen.

“This is surely a good model to use for the conservatory, and get it back on its feet,” Hawthorn told the Straight by phone.

Last year, park commissioners voted to close the Bloedel in 2010 as part of the city’s cost-cutting measures. But when faced with a public outcry, they decided to try to keep the facility open, and called on interested parties to hand in business plans for the future use of the iconic Vancouver attraction. The deadline for submissions is Friday (April 30).