If the NPA’s John Coupar wins the mayoralty in October’s election, city hall could have a new “dome.”
According to a leaked version of the party’s platform, including photographs, the three-term park board politician wants to sell Cambie and 12th to a condo developer and transform the Bloedel Conservatory into the new seat of government.
In 2011, Coupar led the campaign to save the 1969-built tropical paradise attraction atop Queen Elizabeth Park. “It’s the eighth wonder of the world,” he once proclaimed.
The 1936-built Art Deco city hall tower and surrounding campus were assessed last year at $142.8 million. The precinct extends from 12th to 10th and Cambie to Yukon and has one of the best views of downtown skyscrapers and the North Shore mountains.
The NPA proposal says 1,000 units of social housing could be built on-site. The tower would be transformed into a new five-star hotel.
“City hall is already like a jungle, so why not be in a real one?” reads a script prepared for Coupar. “Affordable housing, a windfall profit to reinvest in parks and public safety, and a new hotel. What’s not to like?”
Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth Park also figures in the platform of incumbent Mayor Kennedy Stewart, which has also leaked.
Stewart proposes a contest to find a new name for Queen Elizabeth Park.
“It’s time to decolonize,” according to Stewart’s speaking notes. “We thank the Queen, who has graced our city on several occasions, for her leadership and service to the Commonwealth. But when the day comes that the crown is transferred to someone else, her name will be retired from the signs and maps for our beloved park.”
Though the election is almost six months away, both Coupar and Stewart are planning news conferences on April 1, just before noon.