On Thursday evening we had a grand turnout for our monthly meeting. It was, I believe, the largest gathering of its kind that we’ve had. There were lively discussions about a wide range of topics.
- We began by discussing the Heritage Workshop put on by the Community Planners that many of us had attended during the previous week. It was generally agreed that some useful debates took place there, and the availability of the City’s heritage planners was valuable — hopefully they listened to what was being said. However, we noted that they seemed to be trying to steer us in certain directions (picking individual sites of value rather than recognising the holistic nature of the neighbourhood, for example). The general consensus was that the summaries given at the end of the event did not include several of the major points mentioned at the tables. We look forward with great interest to see how accurately this workshop will be reported out. It was further noted that heritage plays an important role in the future workshops on Housing and Transportation.
- Further to the Workshop, it was noted that the Planners’ survey seemed to indicate that the “value” of heritage was not high on respondents’ concerns. It was agreed that the question was skewed and thus the result is meaningless. Further, the value of Grandview’s heritage to the rest of Vancouver has so far been ignored in the process.
- The role that GHG could take in the expansion of the Heritage Register was discussed. It was noted that the recent “Waldorf crisis” seems to have awakened City Council to a possible expansion of the Register. GHG could take a role in identifying properties not yet on the Register, and could assist City staff by our contacts with relevant owners.
- The creation of a Visioning Report by the Commercial Drive BIA was noted. We will try to get hold of a copy for study and comment.
- Eric Philips presented a fascinating slide show on the use of concrete blocks in Grandview’s early days. He also circulated a catalog of early 20th century block-making machines. At a later date Eric will give a further presentation on the local use of concrete foundations.
- We discussed the wrap up to the 2012 Centenary House project. Penny has drafted a letter to the 2012 recipients which mentions that she and others will be collecting the signs soon and cleaning them up ready for this year’s project. At the November meeting we agreed to look into the creation of a more permanent sign that could be offered to participants. Lance has begun this exploration and he is currently looking at printing moulds on a 3-D printer and casting them in pewter. It was agreed that our permanent signs should look different than the City’s Heritage plaques.
- We then moved on to the 2013 House Signs project. We had a list of about 150 houses we believed were constructed in 1913; however on further research many of these turn out to be earlier or later. Given this, and the future problem of finding any houses for 1914 through 1916, we agreed to explore a change to our signs that would indicate the houses are over 100 years old rather than a specific age. A date for a walking review tour of the 30+ possibles on our list was agreed.
- The City’s 2013 Heritage Awards programme was discussed and we hope to be nominated both for the House Signs project and advocacy/education through the website and walking tours. Deadline for nominations is January 28th.
- Planning for the House History Workshop on March 23rd was moved ahead. Penny will present the workshop at the Eastside Family Place at 3pm. Further details will be posted in the next few weeks.
- Ann noted that there is a Community Small Grants program for Hastings North ( an area that covers Victoria Drive to Boundary, docks to First Avenue.) It was suggested that we could apply for a grant to refurbish the heritage advertising sign on the side of the Via Tevere Pizza building on Victoria. Various options regarding the future of the sign were discussed. Ann will look into the grant possibility.
- Michael noted that the Vancouver Heritage Foundation is seeking new locations for its Open House tour in early June. A number of suggestions were made which Michael will forward to VHF.
It was another busy and productive meeting.