Sunday, May 5, 2013

Forest Education Centre #1 on Heritage Vancouver's Top 10!

Heritage Vancouver's annual Top 10 List of endangered sites has, as its #1 site, the Forest Education Centre at VanDusen Garden. From the Heritage Vancouver site:

Read the article in the Vancouver Sun by John Mackie.

Read the article in the Straight.

Here is the text from Heritage Vancouver's site:

Heritage Vancouver’s position

We strongly encourage the City of Vancouver and the Park Board to:
  1. Put all immediate plans to demolish or partially demolish this building on hold.
  1. Save and stabilize the building and conduct a feasibility study to determine the scope of work and costs of bringing the building back to its original glory.
  1. Write a Statement of Significance (SOS) for the building to determine its heritage value. This would be reviewed by the City’s Heritage Commission and approved by City Council. The City requires that private owners follow this procedure if there is any question as to whether a building has heritage value and we would expect the Parks Board to follow this well-accepted procedure for its buildings.
  1. Seek new partners who will create a use for the building in keeping with its unique design and historic role as a Forest Education Centre. In the words of Rick Jeffery, President and CEO, Coast Forest Products Association one of the panelists at a Heritage Vancouver event held on February 25, 2013, “Please give our industry and the public time to look for solutions to prevent what would be a terrible loss to people in Vancouver and throughout British Columbia.”
  1. Create a philanthropy policy governing donations from individuals and private-sector organizations. Discarding one generations pride and joy is no way to build a mature city. In the words of Rich Jeffery:  “Philanthropy isn’t just for today. It is for today, tomorrow and for years to come.” and “We don’t like to see our gifts neglected and under the threat of being destroyed. Clearly this sets a poor precedent for any potential future donors.”

We strongly encourage the people of Vancouver to:
  1. Communicate with your city government and let them know that you want a say in what happens to this building being held in trust for you.  Here are some suggestions from people we have heard from:
    • An Urban Forest/Sustainability Centre for the City of Vancouver
    • “The Greenest City” Centre for the City of Vancouver
    • A return to its original use
    • A Children’s Learning Centre
    • Artist in Residence
  2. Speak with groups that have a mandate similar to VanDusen Garden to create interest in a future new “Learning Centre.”
  3. Visit VanDusen Garden and go to the far northwestern corner of the site to enjoy the beauty of this building. While you are there take the time to imagine what it was in the past and what it could be in the future. Ask yourself - does this building have a future in my city?

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