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Archive for ◊ Arts & Culture ◊

Residents and visitors to Vancouver restaurants will have an extra hour to enjoy warm weather nights on an outdoor patio this upcoming season.

Establishments with good track records will once again be able to invite their patrons to enjoy Vancouver’s fresh air later into the evening. Expanding from its 2013 pilot program, the City has already approved 53 locations for extended patio hours starting now, through summer 2014.

“Patios are a big draw for residents and tourists alike, and help build a lively, vibrant street scape,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “With patio season upon us, I know many Vancouverites will enjoy the extra hour to socialize outdoors later into the night.”

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Better protection for renters, new community facilities, more parks and revitalized shopping areas: the Mayor and City Council voted today to approve a new Community Plan for Vancouver’s West End.

The new West End Community Plan, developed over a consultation period of more than 20 months that included 107 engagement events, outlines how growth in the West End will be managed over the next 30 years. Key elements of the plan include:

  • Protection of existing rental housing, in a neighbourhood where over 80% of households rent;
  • Investing roughly $600 million in new and upgraded community amenities over the next 30 years, including more parks, affordable housing, child care, and a new community centre and library;
  • A focus on revitalizing commercial areas on Robson, Denman and in Davie Village by including more patios and public spaces, wider sidewalks, and strengthening Davie Village as a hub for the LGBTQ community

“The West End is one of Vancouver’s most unique and celebrated neighbourhoods,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “This plan first and foremost protects what makes the West End great, and lays out a vision for building on its strengths. Affordable housing, vibrant shopping areas, walkable neighbourhoods that work for people young and old – the new West End plan focuses on the priorities we heard from local residents, and will guide change in a responsible way in the coming years.”

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Vancouver’s outstanding creative talents, who represent disciplines ranging from performing and visual arts to literary and culinary arts, will be recognized for their achievements with the 2013 Mayor’s Arts Awards and the City of Vancouver Book Award.

Mayor Gregor Robertson will present the awards at a special ceremony on November 22 at Telus World of Science. Honourees will be recognized in the categories of studio arts, performing arts and support of the arts (philanthropy, volunteerism, business support and arts board member of the year). The winner of the Vancouver Book Award will be announced at the event.

“This year’s Mayor’s Arts Awards honourees and emerging artists exemplify the tremendous depth and diversity of talent we have in Vancouver,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Our creative community bolsters our city’s cultural vitality and economic well-being, and support for local arts and culture is a top priority of our work at City Hall. On behalf of my colleagues on Vancouver City Council and the citizens of Vancouver, I would like to congratulate these artists and thank them wholeheartedly for their leadership in making this such a creative and vibrant city.”

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Mayor Gregor Robertson announced today that he will be asking staff to review how the City can best enable new patio space and extend patio hours in appropriate areas across Vancouver.

The Mayor made the announcement in his remarks launching VIVA Vancouver’s 2013 program for more vibrant celebrations and creative activations on Vancouver’s streets. The City currently has 577 patios.

“We’ve been talking to a number of restaurant owners over the last couple of years about continuing to extend patio hours in areas around the city where it makes sense, not just Downtown but city-wide,” said the Mayor. “We need to look at those opportunities to use sidewalk or even street space that the City can offer to restaurants to expand the number of patio seats for our residents and visitors to enjoy. Whether it’s in Gastown or on Granville or in areas like Main Street, it’s important that the City works with local businesses and neighbourhoods to open up public space for public enjoyment, including for restaurants and cafes.”

Your take: Do you support expanding the number of restaurant and café patios in Vancouver, and extending patio hours where appropriate?
>> Respond to the Mayor’s Facebook question

UPDATE (July 9): Here’s the full text of the Mayor’s motion that he just introduced in City Council – it will be up for consideration in two weeks time:

Motion to expand patios in Vancouver

WHEREAS commercial patios are a popular street activation, especially in the summer;

WHEREAS the City has two categories of patio permits, large and small, with large patios typically licensed, and small patios typically a few tables and chairs;

WHEREAS there were 317 large patio permits, and 260 small patio permits, in Vancouver in 2012;

WHEREAS the hours of operation for large patios are 7am to 11pm;

WHEREAS the last review of patio hours and permits was in the lead-up to the 2010 Winter Games, and there has been a consistent demand for more patios in public spaces like plazas and pedestrian-oriented streets;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED

That staff work with industry stakeholders and BIAs to identify near-term actions that are revenue neutral to increase patio hours and space for establishments with a track record of good behaviour; AND

That staff report back to Council with recommendations for longer-term policy changes that improve the patio experience, including ways to increase space, extend hours, relax fencing restrictions, provide patio options throughout Vancouver, and improve the efficiency of the patio permit process.

Mayor Gregor Robertson officially launched VIVA Vancouver 2013 today, announcing a new, expanded lineup of music, dance, art and creative space-making that will take place in Downtown Vancouver and around the city this summer.

Stop, sit, and relax with friends and neighbours:

VIVA Vancouver capitalizes on citizens’ love of the outdoors by inviting people to stop, sit, and relax with friends and neighbours in vibrant urban settings across the city. The announcement took place at the Corduroy Road seating installation, located at 800 Robson, which features a bright, deck-like structure dotted with umbrellas.

“Building on the success and popularity of last year’s family-friendly program, VIVA Vancouver is once again re-imagining our streets in innovative new ways,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “We’ve got a great line-up this year for people to enjoy, and some new activations in Yaletown, Marpole, and the West End that will strengthen our public spaces in fun and creative ways. I want to thank all of our partner organizations who are teaming up with the City to help bring our streets to life this summer.”

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City Council voted today to launch a new civic designation for Vancouver’s largest and best-known annual parades and celebrations, providing substantial new funding support to the Vancouver Pride Parade, Vaisakhi celebrations, and the Chinatown Spring Festival Parade. The new designation establishes clear criteria for City support and involvement in large parades, and seeks to leverage significantly higher economic impact from these world-class annual events.

“Events such as Vancouver Pride, Vaisakhi, and the Chinatown Spring Festival Parade have become internationally celebrated Vancouver staples that contribute immensely to our economy and our City’s vibrant cultural character,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “These events attract hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world, and the new civic designation for large parades ensures that the City of Vancouver is investing even more strongly in their continued growth and world-class success.”

The new designation also establishes a stronger framework to broadly improve the financial stability of these large parade events, with streamlined and professional event planning, and consistent funding criteria. Criteria for support includes evaluation of the event’s economic impact, its reflection of Vancouver’s diversity, its recent average attendance, and whether or not it is a component of a larger city-wide event or celebration.

Annual funding support will be increased by an estimated 345% for Vancouver Pride, 272% for Vaisakhi celebrations, and 155% for the Chinatown Spring Festival Parade, with Pride funding taking effect in time for this year’s event. Funding for the 2014 Grey Cup Parade will also be grandfathered into the new designation.

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