New council formed to oversee the regeneration of Granville Island

Aug 21 2019, 8:13 pm

A new governance body has been formed to manage and oversee the future of Granville Island as it undergoes its renewal and transformation.

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Federal crown corporation Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which manages the island, announced today its appointees to the newly-formed Granville Island Council, which replaces the existing advisory Granville Island Trust.

The new council will have more decision-making powers and influence over the strategic direction of Granville Island, including budgeting, planning, and long-term strategy. It puts decision-making into the hands of local residents who may have a better understanding of the district’s importance and needs.

Conceptual artistic rendering of a new elevator and staircase from Granville Island to the Granville Street Bridge, with an observation deck, and new plaza spaces. (CMHC)

Conceptual artistic rendering of a new east island pedestrian bridge between Granville Island and the False Creek seawall. (CMHC)

Here is the list of councillors, which will operate in a way similar to a non-profit board of directors:

  • Andeen Yvonne Pitt: Vice-President and Partner of Wasserman + Partners, with prior experience including Toronto’s Ontario Place and Gatineau’s Canadian Museum of History
  • Dale McClanaghan: Housing Development and Consulting/Venture Capital CEO, and former chair of Granville Island Trust for 10 years
  • Domenic Caminiti: National Key Account Manager, CMHC
  • Gracen Chungath: Director of Strategic Operations, Planning & Program Management, Arts, Culture, and Community Services for the City of Vancouver
  • Heather Deal: former Vancouver city councillor
  • Johanna Lauyanto: Manager, Communications & Sustainability for Strathcona Business Improvement Association
  • Paul Larocque: President and CEO of Arts Umbrella

Councillors appointed by the federal government will serve a term of four years, with appointees from CMHC and the City of Vancouver serving a term of three years to ensure an overlap and continuity for future members.

The first meeting will be held on September 24, with the council taking on the task of electing a chair, and assessing applications and recommendations for the next general manager of the island.

Lois McGrath, interim general manager since 2017 of CMHC-Granville Island, says the new governance body was a key recommendation of the Granville Island 2040 report to “strengthen local authority, autonomy, and decision-making on Granville Island.”

“The creation of the Granville Island Council is an important milestone because it gives local residents who understand Granville Island the decision-making authority to help shape its future,” said McGrath in a statement.

Artistic rendering of ground-level parking spots on Granville Island turned into public spaces. (CMHC)

Conceptual artistic rendering of the future of Granville Island, with new plaza spaces. (CMHC)

The 2040 report, released in 2017, envisioned major improvements to the island — the first since the former industrial site was converted into a 35-acre hub for culture and arts in the 1970s by CMHC.

But over the past decade, the Island has faced immense competition from the growth of retail centres, farmers’ markets, and night markets across the region to the extent that revenues have been static.

In the report, CMHC says the Island requires new revenue from growth and development to maintain its position as an iconic attraction and attract more visitors. As well, solving accessibility and transportation issues are “critical” to the Island’s continued vitality.

The long-term master plan for revitalizing the island includes the construction of an elevator and staircase to the Granville Street Bridge, with an observation deck hovering high over the bridge. There would also be an expansion of the public market, new spaces for events and arts, a renewed streetcar connection, and the conversion of large parking lots into new public spaces.

Recent changes to free parking on the island were one of the recommendations of the report.

Conceptual artistic rendering of the future of Granville Island, with a new performance and events venue. (CMHC)

Conceptual artistic rendering of the future of Granville Island. (CMHC)

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