Riley Park Community Centre demolition moratorium proposed

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      Closed down for good last summer, Vancouver’s Riley Park Community Centre is awaiting demolition and its footprint’s return to green space. But the debate about the fate of this civic facility built in 1964 isn’t over just yet.

      Neighbourhood residents like Allan Buium want to preserve the community centre that has been replaced by the new Hillcrest Centre, a 2010 Winter Olympics legacy facility located just across Ontario Street from the old structure.

      “We knew that the new building was not going to have the adequate facilities for the arts, for seniors,” Buium told the Straight in a phone interview. “And all they did was move the preschool from the old building to the new building, so you didn’t gain any new space.”

      Buium, who is the chair of the Riley Park South Cambie Community Visions Group, a volunteer group that works with city hall on local planning matters, is one of a number of people eager to find out what comes out of the Vancouver park board meeting on Monday (January 30).

      Park commissioner Melissa De Genova is introducing a motion to put a six-month moratorium on the demolition of the community centre.

      According to the first-term Non-Partisan Association park commissioner, this will allow both the board and the community to consider options for the shuttered facility. De Genova’s motion points to the lack of child-care spaces in the city.

      But Vision Vancouver park board chair Constance Barnes noted that there are major challenges to keeping the Riley Park Community Centre.

      One is the cost. According to Barnes, it would take at least $5 million to bring the facility up to building-code standards.

      She also recalled that the plan to return the centre to green space has been a long-standing park-board promise that goes two administrations back. “Either way, it’s a difficult one because you try and save it, and then you have people that are going to come out and be very angry, saying, ‘Actually, you promised us green space,’ ” Barnes told the Straight in a phone interview.


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      Bill McCreery1

      Jan 27, 2012 at 5:32pm

      Good on you Melissa. Riley Park is your 'hood. The 4,000+ new residents of Little Mtn. will appreciate and need those facilities. $5M to upgrade and $40M+ to replace. This is a no brainer.

      19 9Rating: +10

      Lack of Vision!

      Jan 27, 2012 at 11:59pm

      I voted for you guys thinking you had a handle on what we the people of Vancouver needed.

      This group of people Norm, Jesse and Allan are bang on with this push for more amenities. With the 1,000s of people who will move into the area in the next 10 years all the facilities will not be enough. They are not enough now!

      If the old centre is knocked down, we will have to spend the $40 million in 10 years to build what we can make out of the old centre! Bill is right this is a no brainer!

      And besides when this "plan" was made over 10 years ago there was no Canada Line, Little Mountain development or any of the other major densification projects that are going on now. These projects will bring 20,000 people to the area in the next 10 years and the new Hillcrest Centre is already PACKED.

      My pockets are empty so don't go asking me to give more when the answer is staring you in the face!

      Surrinder Bring

      Jan 29, 2012 at 1:43pm

      Riley Park South Cambie Vision Implementation Committee has been working over a year to save the Riley Community Centre Buildings. We have a petition that has been signed by over 2,000 people who say that they would prefer to save the buildings and live with less green space ! We have many private individuals and groups who are willing to work with us to provide the much needed services and funding. All we are asking the Park Board to do is give us this 6 month moratorium to flesh out our business plan.. We are not asking them for a cent! We would appreciate the commissioners having open minds to the needs of this community...we lost our local community centre last summer but gained a city-wide destination facility instead.

      Albert Chin

      May 9, 2012 at 5:32pm

      More nonsense ! from people supposedly voted in to save tax payers' money.
      QE Park is a short distance away. Plenty of green space there if anyone care to walk a little for their health. Many schools & public facilities still in service are much older.
      Austerity with the public funds seem to be a bad thing with politicians. No wonder governments of the world are in trouble from over spending!!

      17 9Rating: +8