Discovery Square renamed Art Phillips Park

Nearly a year ago, Vision Vancouver vice-chair Aaron Jasper brought forward a motion to change the name of the tiny green space on Burrard Street at Dunsmuir from Discovery Square to Art Phillips Park.

The park board approved the proposal Monday night.

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Phillips was mayor of Vancouver from 1973 to 1976, at a time when the city was undergoing several major planning initiatives.

Important milestones of that time include ending the plan to run a freeway through the city, converting the False Creek industrial area to an urban neighbourhood, revitalizing historic Gastown and creating the city's property endowment fund, development permit board and heritage registry.

Phillips believed expanding parks and recreation services was a foundation for the livability of a modern city and in the early 1990s, city council and the park board cooperated on a number of significant development projects. They including parks in Champlain Heights, the redevelopment of waterfront at Charleson Park, and VanDusen Botanical Garden. Phillips was also personally involved in the creation of the park now named in his honour.

Phillips coordinated eight surrounding landowners to make a donation towards creating a public park in this location. The $2.5 million purchase cost was shared equally between the city and those donors. In 2010, the city recognized Phillips' contributions with its highest honour, the Freedom of the City award.

A park board staff report says the name change will require updating City of Vancouver maps and signs, the cost of which are expected to occur within the budget. Changes to other maps and products will take place as part of regular updating of materials.

FIRE HALL'S NEW GOLF SITE

The city's real estate and facilities management department wants to use part of Fraserview Golf Course as a temporary fire hall for 18 months beginning in March.

It seems Fire Hall No. 5, located at East 54th Avenue and Kerr Street, is in desperate need of seismic upgrading, as well as environmental upgrades. So it's being replaced and while that happens, Fire Hall No. 5 will set up at the golf course from March through until the spring of 2014.

According to a staff report, prior to approaching the park board the city considered locations on private land, school board property and at other institutions, but no central location could be found.

The temporary facility will consist of a 44 by 60foot double-wide portable for operations, a dorm and a 20-by-50 foot fabric covered equipment shelter for housing one fire engine.

It was decided the golf course was most suitable as a temporary base because noise from the firehall will be the least disturbing to the closest residents, the footprint of the hall at this location is the most compact, and it was the option most supported during the public consultation.

sthomas@vancourier.com twitter.com/sthomas10

CORRECTION: The Plaza 500 Hotel is located on West 12th Avenue, kitty-corner to Vancouver City Hall, not West Broadway as was reported in a story published Jan. 23.

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