Today Bill McCreery, an NPA Council candidate issued a media release asking the city and Westbank the developer to save St. John’s Church at 1401 Comox Street and to restore it as a valuable community centre for the West End residents. This is what he said:
The City should not grant a demolition permit for St. John’s Church on Comox because it is ideally suited to continue serving local residents. It has served the community for many years providing space for church, the arts, youth programs and special interests groups. More community space is, and will be needed with the addition of the Maxine’s development, the proposed Denman Place Hotel conversion and other West End projects in the works.
“St. John’s Church can and should be saved from the wrecker’s ball” says Bill McCreery, NPA Council Candidate. “The existing Church would make an excellent addition to the West End Community Centre, and can easily and affordably be converted”. St. John’s can be converted inexpensively. It can be up and running within six months, providing much needed community services for all West End residents.
McCreery proposes that: “Westbank, the developer, should be informed the Comox development is not appropriate because of its excessive density and inappropriate fit with the neighbourhood. The City should then purchase the property from the developer using ‘Community Amenities Contributions’ funds from the Denman Place conversion and other West End developments. Another alternative is to purchase the Church with funds from the ‘Property Endowment Fund’, and repay that money from a future Capital Plan. Either way, this proposal will not interfere with other Vancouver community centre capital funding.”
A second, later phase can be included in a Capital Plan Referendum to replace the existing buildings with a larger structure to better utilize the site, and provide more community services for the growing West End population. This can be linked with a similarly redeveloped Gordon House structure across the lane. West Enders will then have a wonderful, strategically located community facility benefiting all residents.
The City must think strategically. Funding to make this project work is available. McCreery says: “I encourage the City to work out a mutually acceptable arrangement with Mr. Gillespie to retain these valuable buildings so they continue to serve the neighbourhood. We have an opportunity. Let’s not lose it!”
For Further Information Contact: Bill McCreery, Tel: 604. 916. 3340, email: firstname.lastname@example.org