City assures Save Hollywood Coalition that current development proposal on hold, ample time to find solutions

Kitsilano’s Hollywood Theatre is safe from any demolition or redevelopment, says the city’s chief planner, despite the impending expiry of a protection order, because the city and the owner have agreed the current proposal cannot proceed.

The Save the Hollywood Theatre Coalition wrote to council yesterday urging a special council meeting by Jan. 20 to extend a 75-day council-mandated protection order for the building that will expire that day, one day before the next council meeting.

But after consulting with Brian Jackson, general manager of planning and development services, I was able to assure Mel Lehan, spokesperson for the coalition, that “there is no possibility of the city issuing development or demolition permits to the Hollywood’s owner at this time, even if the council decision expires.

“The city has carefully reviewed the history of this site and the current application with the owner and it is clear, to both sides, that the current proposal cannot proceed.

“This is good news, of course, and gives more time for your coalition, [theatre owner] Mr. [Dino] Bonnis and the city to find suitable solutions for the Hollywood. With the holiday season now at an end, I’m sure discussions will quickly resume to that end.”

Lehan wrote that “significantly, members of the Save the Hollywood Theatre Coalition have engaged in a series of positive meetings with the owner of the Hollywood since mid December.  Although these talks have not as yet identified a solution, we have at times come close. But we need the extension to address recent concerns raised by the owner and to find the right option.

“Simultaneously, the Coalition has received broad support and advice from arts and culture organizations across Vancouver and is developing a compelling business plan for the Hollywood’s revival as a viable and vibrant part of Vancouver’s cultural landscape. Public support has been overwhelming with over 300 attendees at a public rally and upwards of 5,000 signatures on a petition.”

Jackson’s statement indicates the coalition will have the time it needs to find a way forward.