Citizens fight to save art galleries

525 Great Northern Way occupants unite against building’s possible demolition

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If TransLink’s plan goes forward, building 525 Great Northern Way will be gone by 2019.

Along with a group of devoted citizens, Great Northern Way’s Monte Clark and Equinox Gallery members are taking the responsibility of preserving building 525 into their own hands.

A website called save525.ca has been developed by locals and members of the galleries with the intent of uniting voices in a fight against the building’s demolition. The website offers the opportunity to contact Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson & Council, the TransLink Board, BC Premier John Horgan, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Selina Robinson, and Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Canada. It also provides space to include your own name, email, phone number, address and a personal message.

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The Equinox Gallery is a modern and contemporary art gallery run by Andy Sylvester.

TransLink Media Relations Advisor, Jill Drew stated over the phone that in 2013 Translink released the plan for the extension of the Millennium Line from its existing VCC-Clark Station to Arbutus Street, but during a telephone interview with The Voice, Vision Vancouver Coun. Andrea Reimer said the plan did not initially show it could impact the Equinox and Monte Clark Galleries in building 525.

“When we approved the plan for the Great Northern Way campus we did not know at the time what TransLink’s plans were for the routing of the Millennium Line extension,” Reimer said on Sept. 19 during the city’s inaugural council meeting after summer break.

Reimer has requested that city staff investigate what options are available for the retention of the existing building and possible compromises. In a telephone interview with The Voice, Reimer said a memo will be available in a few weeks.

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The Millennium Line extension will take form as a subway running from VCC-Clark Station to Arbutis Street.

Monte Clark and Andy Sylvester said in a letter posted on Sept. 6 at the Equinox’s front desk that they believe the website and personal letters to our city’s leaders are the most effective ways to bring change to the situation.

“This building, together with our new neighbour Emily Carr University and The Centre for Digital Media has made the flats cultural precinct the most exciting creative neighbourhood in the city,” reads the letter.  

Clark and Sylvester add, “Like most major cities, we need to encourage the growth and enterprise of the creative sector as it makes our city more livable and engaging … We want to halt the idea of demolishing this building and stop Vancouver from making an irreversible mistake.”

 

 

 

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