Mayor's Update: August 10, 2020
Aug 10, 2020
In my last update, I was pleased to announce a new waterfront dining experience at the foot of 15th Street in Millennium Park. The District partnered with three local restaurants—Savary Island Pie Company, Feast Neighbourhood Table, and the Truffle House—to provide them more room to operate safely outdoors.
Since opening in July, the operators have been working extremely hard to bring this service to their customers, who have also embraced the idea. However, we have not yet been able to secure liquor licences.
This is a new type of initiative that appears to fall outside existing Liquor Control guidelines, so we are asking the Province to accommodate what is essentially a “satellite” patio service. Council, staff and I have been advocating to Vancouver Coastal Health, the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and the Attorney General.
We are cautiously optimistic because the Province has been encouraging municipalities to implement different Covid-19 economic recovery projects. I believe Harmony Eats should be supported as these local businesses really need our help right now, and their customers would like to enjoy a glass of wine or beer in a safe, beautiful and vibrant location.
Navvy Jack House
Another item in my last update was Council’s decision not to restore Navvy Jack House for use as a nature centre. After two community consultations conducted in 2019, we agreed it would not be a prudent use of $2.3 million in taxpayer funds. Instead, we decided to deconstruct the house, proceed with a stream and park rehabilitation project (with the West Vancouver Streamkeeper Society), and look for a way to work with interested residents and First Nations to properly commemorate the historical significance of the site, architecture, and story of John Thomas and his family; and as an opportunity for meaningful Reconciliation.
Since then, having heard from many members of the community, including the Squamish Nation, Council is taking another look at options for the house. We do not know how much of the historical structure still remains because several interior and exterior renovations have been carried out over the years, so an assessment will be conducted to find out what can be salvaged. We know that Navvy Jack House, which was built in 1873, is of significant local and regional interest, and we are working with the newly formed Navvy Jack House Citizens Group (NJHC) to find a solution. Restoring it would be a serious decision for Council, and one that comes with substantial cost, so it will be considered very carefully in consultation with the community. An update will be presented to Council by the NJHC Group at our regular public meeting on September 14.
Gradual re-opening of facilities continues
We are continuing to gradually re-open facilities and services according to our progressive planning framework. In the past weeks, outdoor recreation programs and limited access to fitness centres have proved successful, so plans are proceeding to re-open more community facilities in September, under new protocols and on a pilot basis, including the following:
- Leisure Pool at the Aquatic Centre
- West Vancouver Community Centre
- Ice Arena
- Gleneagles Community Centre
- Seniors’ Activity Centre
- Youth Lounge at West Vancouver Community Centre
- Bay Scene at Gleneagles Community Centre
Registration for fall programs starts September 2. Our staff will be carefully monitoring operations and, if all goes well, we may open the main swimming pool and the gymnastics centre in October.
Visit the Leisure Guide website to stay up-to-date on facilities hours and to register. Of course, all of these plans are contingent on our province’s continued successful response to the pandemic. We know that most people are doing the right thing, but we have also learned from other jurisdictions that a rebound, or second wave, is possible. I encourage everyone to remain vigilant and follow the advice of Dr. Bonnie Henry.
I wish you all a fun, safe, and rejuvenating August!
Mayor Mary-Ann Booth