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Friday, December 07, 2007

News: City Hall Discusses York Theatre

Found this on the Georgia Straight website (.ed)

The new owner of the York Theatre on Commercial Drive is set for a face-to-face meeting with advocates of the venue’s preservation on Thursday morning (December 3) at Vancouver City Hall, under the auspices of the city’s planning department.

According to Tom Durrie, former general manager of the Pacific Baroque Orchestra and leader of a campaign to save the York Theatre from demolition, the new owner of the property is Paul Phillips of EDG Homes Inc. Durrie said he has rounded up a group for the meeting, including the Vancouver East Cultural Centre’s executive director, Heather Redfern; architect David Galpin of Downs/Archambault & Partners; and Philip Boname, president of development planning firm Urbanics Consultants Ltd. “I think we have at least accomplished getting the whole thing on the city’s agenda,” Durrie told the Straight.

James Boldt, heritage planner with the city, explained to the Straight that the theatre appears to meet the requirements for heritage status. “Our feeling is that it would be eligible for the register, but it hasn’t been fully reviewed yet,” he said. “At this stage we’re just trying to bring some parties together and start looking at options involving retention of the theatre.”

Durrie said he was optimistic about the meeting, but that “if the developer is determined to go ahead and going to plan for demolition, then I say ‘Look out,’ because there are an awful lot of people who are interested in seeing this theatre survive and be redeveloped as it should be.”

The issue of live theatre venues in this city is very serious. We have very few operating theatres with the capacity to hold 500-600 people and the ones we do have are too expensive for most small performing arts companies to consider. The city really needs to get on board and help preserve these cultural landmarks. Just recently, the old Imperial theatre (known to most of us as the Venus) on Main St., fell under the wrecking ball. Although it had spent it's later years as a porn venue, it began it's career as a vaudeville house - near the beginning of the 20th century - and had a fly tower which would have allowed it to be used as a live venue, if necessary.
(.ed)



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