Who will the new arts and culture centre be for?

    The vision is a public space for everyone. For the arts and culture community, it will consolidate exhibition space, rehearsal space, programs and classes, and storage. For the general public, it will be a space to experience art exhibitions, take a class, rent a venue for a private celebration, a place to enjoy a meal with friends and family, or shop for gifts. 

    A centralized hub for all these activities will bring together citizens of all ages and cultural backgrounds to provide an enriching uplifting experience.

    Why do we need a new arts centre? What’s wrong with our existing ones?

    The West Vancouver Art Museum, Silk Purse, and Music Box are old buildings that were built for residential purposes. They were never designed to be used as public gathering spaces. They are past the end of their useful lives and it would be very expensive to renovate or rebuild them. They also do not have the capacity to accommodate our community’s needs.


    What will happen to the Silk Purse and Music Box?

    The plan is to remove those buildings as part of the Ambleside Waterfront Plan, which was adopted by Council. They will not be demolished until the programs they host are relocated, perhaps to a new Arts and Culture Centre.

    Ambleside Waterfront Park Implementation Project

    I was never consulted about building a new multi-million dollar arts facility. Shouldn’t you consult on whether the community want this first? Who decided this?

    The District has had public arts and culture facilities for many years, and the concept for a new arts and culture facility has developed over time as a result of community engagement and technical analysis.

    In 2017, we asked the entire community, as well as the art, culture and heritage sector, to respond to questions about arts and culture in West Vancouver. Questions about arts facilities were included. The feedback from the community established the four key goals that form the basis of the Arts & Culture Strategy (2018-2023). These goals are People, Programs, Places and Processes.  

    Goal 3: Places direct us to “Prepare a comprehensive plan for arts and culture facilities.”

    This was the foundation for Council to establish the Arts Facilities Advisory Committee (AFAC) in 2018. The committee developed an Arts Facility Plan, a needs assessment that was used a technical data-driven analysis to review all existing services and facilities. 

    The Arts & Culture Facilities Plan process determined:

    • current facilities are in poor condition, past their useful life and not suitable for public gatherings and programming.  
    • the size and spaces required to support the existing program currently located in the three unsuitable facilities (West Vancouver Art Museum, Silk Purse, and Music Box). If a new purpose-built Arts & Culture Centre is built, all programming in these facilities would be moved to that location.

    In summary, support for a consolidated new arts facility is based on meeting the community needs as determined through the Arts & Culture Facilities Plan, which was an outcome of broad community consultation for an Arts & Culture Strategy, in 2017 and 2018.

    Consistent with planning that has taken place to date, each phase of planning will provide an opportunity for public engagement. Every AFAC meeting is also open to the public.

    Arts Facilities Advisory Committee

    Arts & Culture Facilities Plan

    Arts & Culture Strategy

    How will we pay for this? This is not the time to take on a significant capital expense.

    Developing a capital funding plan is part of this phase of planning. This capital funding plan will include an analysis to determine if private funds can be raised, opportunities for federal and provincial grants, and identify potential partnerships and sources of funding through development.

    What services and programs will be in the facility?

    The identified needs include:

    • Galleries for Community Arts and the Art Museum
    • Specialized collection storage – short term and long term
    • Exhibition preparation space
    • Rehearsal space
    • Small performance space to replace what is currently offered at the Silk Purse
    • Arts and culture multipurpose space – large, medium, small
    • Kitchen
    • Administration workspace
    • Community organization/administration workspace
    • Lobby, café, gift shop

    Programming and usage for the facility will be considered in the next phase of planning. 

    Will you consider building a separate small building in the existing area of the Silk Purse?

    No, smaller sites on the waterfront are not being considered. The process to get to this point did consider two separate facilities, a 12,000 sq. ft. Community Arts Centre, and a 13,000 sq. ft. Art Museum, but the existing waterfront lots cannot accommodate any of these options. The option of two separate facilities was not pursued for financial reasons.


    How much will the project cost and when will costs be available to the public?

    Class D costing has been prepared, and initial estimates are:


    Consolidated Facility

    Building and Site without Parking 

    $24.8 million to

    $27.6 million

    Maximum Parking

    $7.2 million to

    $12.7 million

    Building and Site with Maximum Parking

    $34.3 million to

    $38.1 million

    Operating and Annualized Capital Maintenance Costs for 

    Arts Facility

    $1.2 million


    Will the arts groups be included in the planning process of the new facility?

    Yes, this phase of planning will host workshops for arts groups to provide input to create the vision and concept, and governance model for a new arts facility.

    Why isn’t an arts centre being put at Klee Wyck? I’ve read that the District hasn’t even considered this.

    The Klee Wyck site was included in the needs assessment during the development of the 2019 Arts & Culture Facilities Plan. The site was considered and rejected because it is in a remote, quiet residential neighbourhood and it has poor access to public transportation and poor vehicle access. Both the Economic Development Plan and the Official Community Plan recommend situating an arts centre in the Ambleside-Dundarave business district to serve as a driver for revitalization and potentially link the business districts to the waterfront, and the Klee Wyck site will never be able to integrate with a business district.

     After the Arts Facilities Advisory Committee determined that Klee Wyck would not be a viable site for an arts and culture centre, they formed a sub-committee to develop a long-term and short-term plan for Klee Wyck, which Council adopted on December 7, 2020.

    Instead of building an arts centre on public land and paying for it with public funds, we should get a developer to build it on private land. Why isn’t that one of the options?

    The Arts Facilities Advisory Committee studied more than 20 potential sites, both public-owned and privately-owned. Two privately-owned sites were considered by Council. The owner of the first site did not have an interest in a development that included an arts centre. The owner of the second site prepared a proposal, which Council considered at their April 12, 2021 meeting. Council directed staff not to include this option because it would need to be a mixed-use building on the 1400 Block of Marine Drive, and it would include retail at street level, a 21,000 square foot arts facility on the second floor, and residential above, either in a nine-storey or two 12-storey towers.