This is either going to be good news or bad, depending on which side of the discussion you belong.
The park board has accepted the long-term loan of the A-maze-ing Laughter sculpture on display at Morton Park across the road from English Bay. The sculpture was installed in 2009 by the Vancouver Biennale Foundation as a temporary exhibit, but the non-profit received such amazing feedback from the public it recently began fundraising to purchase the installation, which is made of up 14 large bronze sculptures frozen in mid-laughter. The goal was to buy the piece and then loan it or donate it back to the city.
When the foundation approached the park board regarding a loan or donation, there was no policy to deal with such long-term agreements. Instead, the park board held a formal discussion regarding the donor’s responsibility and all costs associated with accepting the loan, consulted with the Public Art Committee, convened a technical review and held a community consultation on the proposal. Of the 1,014 responses, 912 were in favour of keeping the installation while 102 were against the plan. Meanwhile, the Biennale Foundation was able to negotiate a time-limited sale price for A-maze-ing Laughter from $5 million to $1.5 million based on the artist Yue Minjin’s desire to see the work remain on display.
Kits Point will be the place to be this summer, what with year-round basketball and now a new 56-seat outdoor, rooftop patio at the Boathouse Restaurant.
At the April 16 park board meeting, the commissioners approved the patio, which will be surrounded by a glass railing to minimize the visual impact. The railing facing the street will be six-feet tall in an effort to limit the noise. A green buffer zone facing the neighbouring residents will also be erected. The patio will be seasonal, running from June through September and closing at 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. According to a park board staff report, to further reduce noise levels table seating will be limited to two or four. No exterior lighting will be added other than candles and there will be no umbrellas or heating units. The patio will operate under a Food Primary liquor licence, as does the restaurant. It’s estimated the addition of the patio will increase sales at the Boathouse by $600,000 annually, of which $39,000 will go to the park board.
NPA park board commissioner John Coupar is bringing a motion to the park board at the April 30 meeting asking staff to find a way to better recognize former commissioners George Wainborn and Andy Livingstone, both now deceased.
Coupar told me he fears the general history of the park board is losing some of its “institutional memory” and that residents and visitors will forget why the two men were honoured. His motion lists dozens of the accomplishments of the men, both of whom have parks named after them.
Coupar also wants the long history of the park board to be highlighted on its website with specific biographical information on the accomplishments of citizens past and present who have facilities or parks named after them. Coupar’s motion can be read in full as part of the April 16 meeting agenda available at vancouver.ca/parks.