Will Granville Island be changing owners?
WATCH ABOVE: People who work on Granville Island speak out against a possible change to its ownership. Catherine Urquhart reports.
Reports that the federal government is set to transfer management of Granville Island to Port Metro Vancouver has local politicians on edge.
“The City of Vancouver is strongly opposed to Granville Island being controlled by Port Metro Vancouver, and we made our position clear to the Port and the Government of Canada in discussions and correspondence over many months,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson in a statement.
“As Mayor, I have worked to support a transfer or lease to the City, or the creation of an independent local authority with a mandate that is specific to Granville Island’s unique character.
“Port Metro Vancouver will always be an important part of our region’s trade economy, but Granville Island’s success is as a cherished centre for local food, the creative sector, and tourism that highlights the best Vancouver has to offer. The future of Granville Island should be built on that foundation.”
WATCH: Local politicians speak out against possible Granville Island ownership change.
Granville Island has been managed by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, a body controlled by the federal government, since 1972. During that time the island has evolved from industrial land to the mix of shops, artists spaces, and restaurants that make it one of Vancouver’s premier attractions for both locals and tourists.
Even if there is no change to the ownership of Granville Island, its landscape will evolve. Emily Carr University is the largest tenant on the island, but they will be moving in 2016 and a replacement hasn’t been named yet.
Port Metro Vancouver says it is involved in “exploratory discussions” with the federal government on possibly transferring the administration and management of Granville Island to Port Metro Vancouver.
“It is too soon to speculate on the outcome of these discussions. The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of Granville Island to the community as a cultural and economic jewel and is committed to maintaining its social, communal and commercial fabric,” reads the statement, issued Friday.
Vancouver Centre MP Hedy Fry, whose riding includes Granville Island, is sounding alarm bells.
“As the Member of Parliament for Vancouver’s Granville Island, it is disturbing that the Conservative government continues to make decisions in secrecy regarding important regional institutions without consultations or input from MPs or their constituents,” she said.
“It seems they are determined to make it a major profit-making enterprise.”