My apologies for the delay in posting these notes; it has been a very busy week!
Last Thursday we had a really productive meeting, covering a wide range of current and ongoing issues:
- We were joined by Vancouver City Clr. Heather Deal for the first hour. She took us through the City’s new Heritage Action Plan‘s 14 points in good detail. The Plan appears to cover everything from tightening up demolition permits to reducing the complexity of HRAs, updating the Heritage Register and changing the building code to ease heritage renovation.
- The conversation after the presentation was equally useful: some speakers noted that highly inflated property values in Vancouver were damaging heritage retention; that cultural mapping in the Heritage Register should be separate from architectural mapping; that just a few thousand dollars in grants could return many of the Edwardian ornamentation that flourished on the Drive; that groups like ours should be able to nominate for the Register; that fees collected for HRAs etc should be maintained for heritage uses rather than disappear into general revenue.
- Three specific issues were raised with Clr. Deal: (a) 1872 Parker, the Brockhouse, needs to be saved from imminent demolition. James Evans, who developed the Jeffs Residences and who was in attendance, confirmed that he was in discussions with the current owners. However, there were still issues to be solved before he can move in to save the property. This was greeted with excitement by the group.
- (b) The Green House next to the Cultch on Venables which Heather Redfern has stated is to be demolished. Clr. Deal stated that the City wants to save the building and they would be working to that end.
- (c) Astorino’s. The Group stressed the cultural importance of the building which is slated to be lost in the Boffo redevelopment. It was also noted that this is now an active performance space. Clr. Deal promised to review the situation.
- Clr. Deal had to leave the meeting after an hour, but it was generally agreed this had been a very useful conversation.
- We discussed the work that our intern, Stephanie Chang, a Geog 429 student, is working on. She is working with us to create a social and cultural portrait of the area around Woodland Park. She has to complete the project for presentation in April.
- Kristen Moran gave a short presentation on her extended video about heritage in Grandview. She was looking for more heritage homeowners to be a part of the video, and she received a great many names from those attending the meeting.
- Penny gave an update on the Centenary Signs Project. All the 2013 signs have now been collected and are being cleaned. We will continue the survey for 2014 targets in March when the weather improves.
- Finally, we had another episode in Eric Phillips’ magnificent Mechanicals and Materials series. This part was on heritage home heating systems. Eric took us on an illustrated trip through various fuel types — wood, coal, coke, sawdust, oil and gas. Fascinating stuff. Next month we will continue this part, looking at fireplaces, boilers and other systems.