Our 12th Annual Endangered Sites Watch List
In 2012, Vancouver’s Main Post Office is at the top of the list. Faced with imminent closure, there is no guarantee that the heritage value of this modernist landmark will be recognized. Will this enormous structure be sold for maximum land value? Will the federal government recognize the potential of this landmark to provide desperately-needed cultural and amenity space in the increasingly dense downtown core? Its uniquely robust structure, built for the use of trucks to move mail, offers unparalleled opportunities for rehabilitation. The public debate about this site should recognize the high quality of its architecture, its unique functional layout and its heritage significance as a postwar landmark.
Our other Top Ten sites for this year demonstrate a variety of issues, including ongoing difficulties associated with the Heritage Density Bank – frozen since August 2007 – as well as the lack of a start date for the long-promised, long-awaited update of the outdated Vancouver Heritage Register.
Some heritage sites are also threatened by current city policies that try to wring maximum public benefits out of many sites through extra density. Significantly, there are several new neighbourhood plans that are underway that could have serious impacts on local heritage resources, but no mechanisms for updating the Register in those areas. Over the next year, we will be actively involved in these plans, and other community initiatives.
These ten endangered sites represent the many challenges that we face in building a future for heritage in Vancouver.