07 December 2009

What will become of the Bloedel Conservatory?

Yesterday marked the 40th birthday of the Bloedel Conservatory and there were a lot of people out to celebrate and sign a petition to save it. At the last meeting of the Park Board, Commissioners voted 4-3 to close it down. No thought was given, however, to what will become of the building.

This is a class 'A' heritage building and can't simply be destroyed. And even if the Park Board wants to take it down, it would probably cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to deconstruct it and redevelop the land. So, what will become of the Conservatory? I am hoping it will be given a one year reprieve and that the Park Board in association with a community group will come up with a marketing plan to improve and enhance this site as a destination for visitors and residence alike. As I said at both the Park Board meeting and at City Council, budget time is not the time to debate the worthiness of this facility. We need to engage the community and see if the citizens think it is worth preserving and re-investing in. For close to 40 years we have taken this place for granted. Now is the time to ask the tough questions that need asking. To simply close it would be a lost opportunity to engage the citizens in a discussion on what kind of city they want.

1 comment:

  1. Exactly! It's a shame that the dome has been neglected for 40 years. If the Park Board had maintained the integrity of the dome by repairing and replacing segments as needed, it might not even need $1.5 million in repairs right now.
    But now that we're in this situation, let's fix it. Let's use this as an opportunity for the community to get involved in making Bloedel more popular than ever. It's true that we don't know what we have until it's gone and it would be a very expensive mistake to close Bloedel only for the city to regret the decision a few years down the road.