Skip to content

Letter: A new arts centre in West Vancouver? No. No. No.

There is no need for an expensive art gallery in West Vancouver, this letter writer says
WVan waterfrontNO NAME
West Vancouver is not in need of an expensive new arts centre, this letter writer says.

An open letter to mayor and council:

Due to boring circumstances, including the frustration of having a password four characters too long to take the public survey regarding the proposed art gallery, which I therefore abandoned in mid-application:

Proposed location destroying the tennis court, its intrusion on one of town hall’s (all too few) excellent projects, Rutledge Field, and loss of 50 parking stalls:  NO, NO, NO.

Proposed location south of the tracks, its intrusion on Ambleside Park’s leafy ambience, and loss of 100 parking stalls: NO, NO (i.e., one NO fewer than the above).

On the need for an art gallery at all, with its grotesque cost of an estimated and almost invariably underestimated cost of $34,000,000, mostly paid by expected contributions of senior governments, and in consideration that there is only one taxpayer for all, and further consideration that currently this could not be a worse time, other than a deeper depression than that of the 1930s, for such a bloated expenditure for such a small and vauntingly self-interested sector of the public: NO, NO, NO, NO.

This town, one of the richest in Canada and with the highest-cost real estate, doesn’t even have a single used bookstore, two having closed. It doesn’t have a movie theatre, the existing one closed decades ago, apart from the insanely up-scale, off-street one in Park Royal. It doesn’t have a single hotel, its only accommodation for visitors being a small motel on its western side. Of all cultural amenities, an art gallery is the one most qualified to be a non-starter.

To have a wide enough appeal to a wider public, it can only be in a fairly high-population city and it can only bring in that sector of the citizens, once they’ve had a go-round of the permanent collection and perhaps another visit or two a year, by mounting special showings of particular genres, periods, single great-reputation painters etc. that essentially tour big cities. An art gallery in West Vancouver would have, apart from the above disqualifications, a far too narrow appeal, and far too great running costs, to be a magnet for far too few residents or visitors.

The Vancouver Art Gallery is such a city [amenity]. And it has more than 11,000 paintings that are stored, and most of which have neither the quality nor the interest to ever be on public display. I rest my case: Council should drown this idea – hatched and pushed years ago by a former participant in Ottawa’s National Gallery, and run to ground then – many, many fathoms deep.

Trevor Lautens
West Vancouver

Editor’s note: The survey referenced in this letter is open for public input until 4 p.m. on June 16. Read about the proposals and take the survey here: