Today I spoke to Vancouver City Council (committee) regarding the proposed Heritage Action Plan to update heritage conservation processes. There were many speakers on the list and it looks like the meeting will go well into the evening. Here’s what I said:
Thank you for the opportunity to speak on behalf of GHAPC in support of the proposed heritage plan and its quick start implementation.
As the stewards of Vancouver’s identity locally and in the world, you are also stewards of Vancouver’s collective memory. This memory is not only of the city, but of the lives of people who live here and those who visit here.
There are places in Vancouver that our grandparents told us about, and there are places that we will tell our grandchildren about – these places are in the trust of the city. This proposal widens and preserves that circle of trust.
As the chair of the Gastown Heritage Area Planning Committee, I’ve seen first hand the positive benefits of protecting and supporting heritage resources in the city. What would have happened by now to the buildings and streetscape of Gastown if there hadn’t been an initiative from council in the 70s? Today Gastown’s identity is actively being preserved for future generations, and in 2009 it was named a National Heritage Site. This designation also includes the open views northward on the north-south streets.
Intangibles like this view have a place in this proposal – not only buildings but the views, and mature trees, the places of cultural significance and pride (like the old theatres), the streetscapes.
Also acknowledged in this proposal is the true heritage of First Nations history – surely this is another way for the city to support truth and reconciliation for the years to come.
Rather than allowing Vancouver to become facelessly international, please approve this proposal to help preserve the “place memory” that nutures our evolving identity.