Bringing Lot 5 (National Maritime Centre Site) From Reports to Shovels

North Van Urban Forum announces a COMMUNITY BRAINSTORM & OPEN CHARRETTE (March 10 – April 1, April 4 – 29) pertaining to the re-development of the plot of land that was once slated to become the National Maritime Centre.

Since the early 1990s at least, the City of North Vancouver has given millions upon millions of our community’s tax dollars to architectural and consulting firms to consider and re-consider the fate of the Lower Lonsdale waterfront and the neighbourhood’s cultural institutions. The resulting reports often re-confirmed a long-held community consensus: the Lower Lonsdale Waterfront should be a publicly accessible, history honoring space that would be ideal for the re-location or creation of community cultural institutions. But as yet to little avail.

Now, with the Café for Contemporary Art’s generous donation of it’s gallery space, the North Van Urban Forum (a 100% volunteer run, non-profit organization concerned with public participation and transparency in development and urban planning) is lending its efforts to this decades-long process. NVUF is hosting a 4 month-long, 4-part independent community engagement program, aimed at initiating a conversation and ultimately building community consensus in regards to the potential futures of this North Vancouver waterfront site, in hopes of finally facilitating a shift from reports to shovels.

With the second stage of this process (Lower Lonsdale: Pasts & Presents) currently ongoing, the North Van Urban Forum is proud to invite the public’s participation in an open community brainstorm and design charrette to be held in March and April. Beginning on March 10 the Café for Contemporary Art gallery walls will go black and members of the public will be invited to draw and write their napkin sketch ideas for what should go on the community owned piece of land in question. Then with all those ideas and sketches still on the walls, everyone will be invited to submit more thoroughly hashed out proposals consisting of drawings and models (see outline below for details). Local businesses, organizations and any philanthropic individuals are encouraged to create
prizes that will be awarded to well-deserving designers during our public reception and prize night on Thursday April 19th.


North Van Urban Forum
Benjamin Woodyatt, 604-771-6152

Café for Contemporary Art
Tyler Russell, 778-989-8325

Process Outline

Part 1 The Commons: Sharing Public Space (January 12 – 22) Intended to prime the minds of our community for more enthusiastic and informed involvement in the ongoing process, this weeklong event mobilized the collective experiences of the neighborhood around the question: What is an ideal public space? People shared images of ideal public spaces from around the world and blanketed gallery walls with post-it note responses to questions pertaining to public process, First Nations title, and ideals in the design of public space. This event culminated in a public forum/meet-up session held on the evening of January 19th.

Part 2 Lower Lonsdale: Pasts & Presents (currently on view January 26 – March 4) is an exhibition in 4 parts including: an array of historical photo prints, courtesy of the North Vancouver Museum & Archives illustrating the history of Lower Lonsdale and the central waterfront from settlement to present (late 1800s – 2010); Lovin’ Lolo, an appreciative inquiry photo project by organized by Cath-Anne Ambrose with huge assistance from Chelsea Bell-Eady that invited the public to send in photos of what they loved about Lower Lonsdale; an interactive community stories wall where members of the public are invited to share their own Lower Lonsdale stories (among others, current submissions include personal tales of the shipyard’s Foreman and stories from the Captain of the last cross-inlet ferry); and finally a wall covered with a growing collection of report covers from reports the City of North Vancouver has commissioned regarding Lower Lonsdale waterfront development and the re-location or refurbishment of the community’s cultural facilities. This exhibition will end with a de-installation pot-luck on March 4, 6-9pm, everyone is invited!

Part 3 Commons Aspirations1: Imagining Lot 5 – A Community Brainstorm (March 10 – April 1) will see the walls of the Cafe for Contemporary Art’s gallery painted black and turned over to the able and willing minds of the neighborhood. Chalk will be provided, all are welcome to participate, and hopefully, a unified community voice will begin to crystallise. There will be space for responding publicly to the questions such as: Big or small, do you have a plan for Lot 5? What is it?; what kind of space do you imagine for Lot 5?; what sort of building materials or architectural features should be considered for Lot 5? What sorts of uses or tenants do you imagine would be ideal for the site? Etc.

Part 4 Commons Aspirations2: Designing Lot 5 – An Open Charrette & Design Competition Design isn’t all fancy buildings, it’s a means for considering the facilitation of interaction amongst people, vitality in the community, building senses of ownership while underpinning and giving form to the shared ethics of a moment in time. Ideally it is focused on enhancing or enriching quality of life while considering histories, circumstances and aspirations. So, the public is invited to get informed/inspired and design Lot 5. From private individuals to student design teams to professional design firms, everyone from near and far is invited to participate in this non-binding design and community building process.

Qualifying submissions will be exhibited in the Cafe for Contemporary Art gallery from April 4 – 29, 2012 with a public reception and prize night on Thursday, April 19th, 7-9pm.

Local businesses are encouraged to contribute and conceive of prizes (this will not preclude them from submitting designs, but it will prevent them from winning their own prizes) which submitting designers will compete for.

Qualifying submissions will include: a model (with a base no bigger than 2’x2′), a concept drawing, and a 500 word write up about the proposal (writing requirement considerations may be made for designers under the age of 11). All designs must be exclusively centered around Lot 5, though references to the immediate surrounding areas are welcomed.

Disclaimer: while there will be an array of prizes from cash to dinner and possible local
media coverage and more, there is no guarantee that the winners’ designs will be selected
or even referenced when the City makes a decision about what to do on the site.

Submission Deadline: Writing and Drawing, March 25, 7pm; Models, April 2, 5pm.