As I mentioned in a story last Friday, the fire that torched the train station at the Stanley Park Miniature Railway Thursday night also destroyed artwork, tools and products stored there by artists taking part in the Klahowya Village display.
But it wasn’t until the cleanup was complete that the full extent of the damage was apparent. A conservative estimate shows the artists’ items ruined totalled more than $40,000 in value.
Coincidently, the 911 call about the fire was called in at midnight just hours after the June 21 opening of the Klahowya Village exhibit in Stanley Park.
According to the Aboriginal Tourism Association of B.C., which sponsors the exhibit, the loss of tools and art is not only financially devastating to the artists but also a creative blow.
The association has set up a donation fund to support the First Nations artists who sustained losses not covered by insurance. For more information go to aboriginalbc.com. Park board media spokesperson Joyce Courtney tells me the train is back up and running, the damaged structures have been removed and the site is fenced off for safety. The park board wants to replace the buildings lost in the fire.
To mark June as National Aboriginal History Month, the park board is presenting selected digital stories from First Nations and aboriginal communities. A team of digital media artists worked with community members to capture oral histories, stories and memories as part of the City of Vancouver’s 125 celebrations and the park board’s Artist in Communities projects. These short audio stories shed light on life in Vancouver and are worth a listen. You can hear a selection at vancouver.ca/parks.
No condos for courses
I had an interesting conversation with Vision Vancouver vice-chair Aaron Jasper last week.
I asked Jasper about a column written by Vancouver Sun columnist Don Cayo, who calculated how much money could be raised by developing the city’s golf courses, which he deems as being located on “grossly under-used land.”
Cayo suggests just under 10 hectares of the 48.5 hectares that makes up Langara Golf Course could be sold to a developer for condos for about $675 million. That’s a lot of green.
While Jasper insisted the city’s golf courses will never be sold for condos so long as he’s on the board, he admitted he’s talked to staff about making more money from Langara, Fraserview and McCleery. “It’s interesting timing because I have asked staff for an analysis, including supply and demand of all three courses,” Jasper told me.
Jasper wants to find out if there are ways to make the city’s public golf courses financially more viable and also open them up to other uses, such as park space. “We need more bang for our buck,” Jasper said. “But we’ve never contemplated selling off any land.”
Jasper says one idea being floated is an executive nine-hole golf experience, which would free up green space by moving away from the lengthy, 18-hole games being played today.
“But you can put in bold print that we are not selling off our golf courses for condos,” he said.
Jasper brought a motion forward last year recommending liquor be sold on golf courses and not just in the clubhouse. The recommendation was approved by the board and is pending provincial approval.