The City of Vancouver is beginning another effort to revitalize and transform the historic Granville strip, home to some of the city’s most recognizable and iconic theatres and buildings.
City council has approved the terms of reference for a plan to revitalize the entertainment district by improving public spaces and enhancing cultural use, while at the same time preserving the heritage and unique culture of the area.
The area, located between Robson and Drake, also has the highest concentration of single-room occupancy (SRO) hotels outside of the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood at 574.
A staff report presented to council outlines challenges that have been long plaguing the area, including empty storefronts, crime and safety issues, reduced daytime visitors and increased violence at night.
“What this plan does is really recognize that this is first and foremost and arts and culture destination, and that’s really what we want to see going forward, is a revitalized destination,” said Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung.
“It’s bigger, it’s bolder, I think council sent a very clear signal to staff that we are 100-per cent behind them in taking bolder action in moving forward.”
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According to the report, the plan has the goal of increasing office and business presence, boosting opportunities for entertainment, dining and tourism as well as improving transit.
“The plan for SROs across the city and not just in the Granville district is that they be replaced over time with self contained units and provide people with more dignified housing,” said Kirby-Yung.
It also includes an enhanced rezoning process, freezing rezoning but allowing already submitted applications to go ahead.
The plan will also explore a possible vehicle-free area, public space options and address the current hotel shortage.
The planning stage will take 18 months and will cost about $300,000, with the funds being set aside from this year’s operating budget.
A final report is expected next year.
Granville Entertainment District revitalization plan
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