Coun. Elizabeth Ball says city's order to remove Georgia Straight newsboxes will harm arts community

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      A Vancouver councillor with extensive experience in the arts says she's "stunned and shocked" by the city ordering the removal of Georgia Straight newsboxes from areas near the Vaisakhi parade route, Vancouver Sun Run route, and the 420 event.

      At 5:26 p.m. on Tuesday, an email from the city gave the Straight until noon on Thursday (April 14) to remove scores of newsboxes from the downtown and the southeast side of the city. Nobody from the city has spoken to the company to offer an explanation—the email merely mentioned a "security plan" prepared in consultation with the Vancouver Police Department.

      "If they saw there was a danger, why didn't they talk to you about what alternatives would be possible?" the NPA's Elizabeth Ball told the Straight. "Why not work with you? This is what I don't understand. Unfortunately, a lot of this stuff still happens."

      Ball, founder of Carousel Theatre and cofounder of Waterfront Theatre, said that she planned on writing to city manager Sadhu Johnston to inform him about the impact of the decision on the city's cultural life.

      "I should say to Sadhu, 'Do you know what this is also going to do to all the arts organizations who rely on the Georgia Straight as the only way people get to buy tickets because that's the only way they find out?' Without you guys, we'd be dead and I know that."

      "I am very worried about the fact that you haven't been consulted because the arts community absolutely relies on those boxes being out there with all your information about the performances," Ball continued. "And I think that it's critical that a method be found to get that information to the public because the arts organizations will be really damaged by losing any of your issues out there, because they're so critical to us."

      Ball also said she was "astounded" that the Georgia Straight, which pays the city to place boxes on the streets, must remove them in advance of the 420 event at Sunset Beach.

      "You've got an event that isn't paying to the city and that the park board doesn't want there," she said.