I missed the Vancouver Art Gallery's public forum last Thursday, regarding their proposed relocation to a purpose-built singular structure at Larwell Park. Have yet to speak with anyone who attended the event, though both the Globe and Mail and Vancouver Sun have weighed in – the Globe with reportage, the Sun with (snide) commentary.
One bell that keeps tolling is Vancouver City Councillor Heather Deal on a) how disinterested Vancouverites are about the move (only seven emails in favour) and b) how a number of local architects want the gallery to remain at its current site – the heart of the city.
It appears that Deal, who was appointed by the mayor to oversee the gallery’s proposal, is there to steer support for a shared site at Larwell, the last city-owned block in downtown Vancouver. Sharing, in this instance, would mean a gallery and a tower, for the City has committed millions from any Larwell Park development to the renovation of the nearby Queen Elizabeth Theatre --something only a commercial-residential tower could provide, something the VAG wants no part of.
Not sure how the VAG is going to get around this. Nor do I see the City budging. That, to me, is the biggest problem facing the VAG's proposed move, a ball Heather Deal is doing her best to keep out of the City's court.