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Mayor says solution in the wings for Bloedel Conservatory

January 29th, 2010 · 9 Comments

Well, isn’t this news release, hot off the electrons at city hall, interesting? I had a story a couple of weeks ago saying the mayor was asking staff to look for solutions. The issue hasn’t been going away. If you do a Twitter search under the mayor’s name, one of the most common posts, much retweeted, is linked to the Georgia Straight’s item on a British advocate urging the mayor to save the conservatory. (21st-century journalism, yikes.) And I note that the Friends of the Bloedel fundraiser on Jan. 30 has sold out.

I note that this news release doesn’t have any details, though. I’ll be waiting to see those, as I’ve had a couple of news releases from this administration that advertise solutions that don’t work out quite as perfectly as they say they’re going to. (At Tab 1: the Little Mountain agreement to allow some residents to stay.)

Here’s the release, verbatim

City moving closer to Bloedel Conservatory solution, says Mayor

Mayor Robertson today committed to finding collaborative solutions that will allow the Bloedel Conservatory to remain open, saying the City and Park Board are moving closer to identifying a way to keep it open.

“I’m committed to working with the Park Board, the community, interested parties and investors to find a long-term solution to ensure the Conservatory remains open,” said Mayor Robertson. “I believe we’ll find a way to make it a success.”

The City’s and Park Board’s efforts to save the Bloedel Conservatory are moving closer to a resolution that would allow it to stay open, but a financial gap still remains, said the Mayor.

A Park Board Request for Expression of Interest inviting interested parties to submit a business plan to operate the Conservatory will be released shortly. The City has been contacted by a number of groups interested in creating a successful business plan for the Conservatory.

“City and Park Board staff have worked very hard on a number of options that would allow Bloedel to remain open, while removing the financial burden from city taxpayers,” said Mayor Robertson. “I’m confident that by continuing to partner with community groups, non-profits, and private donors, we can find a way to save it. We know that the capital investment is one of the key components which needs to be addressed and this is something the Park Board and the City are discussing with interested parties.”

The City faced a $61 million budget shortfall for 2010, and the Conservatory, which is subsidized by the Park Board, requires extensive capital repairs and investment.

“We know that the Bloedel Conservatory is treasured by many people across our city,” said Park Board Chair Aaron Jasper. “We’re looking at all options and I’m hopeful that innovative and creative proposals will come forward and allow the Bloedel Conservatory to remain open.  We will find a solution.”

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