Naomi Singer is the artistic director of Winter Solstice Lantern Festival. Singer has been renting 1,600 square feet of production space for $1,200 per month in the past 2 years. However, the popular festival is at risk because the production space may soon be demolished because of a new condominium development in downtown Vancouver.
The condo development is definitely tied to the Vancouver real estate market but while it has created an advantageous situation for people, it has also caused incredible hardship for some. The price of land in Vancouver is quite high but Singer hopes that people will also consider culture as important.
The Secret Lantern Society is the organization behind the popular festival that takes place every Wednesday in four different downtown locations. Thousands of people are attracted to the festival because of the colorful paper lanterns. Paper lanterns were used by the organization during its 23-year existence.
The organization occupies production space at 1255 West Pender St where it also holds public workshops to make paper lanterns and prepare for the festival. The 3-storey building is also occupied by a variety of musicians, a business providing reusable moving boxes and Atira Women’s Resource Society.
The building will be demolished to make way for a 19-storey mixed-use condo development that will include 20 residential units and retail stores on the ground floor. Singer received notice that the organization must vacate the production space by December 31 but after explaining the situation, their stay was extended up to January 14, 2017.
Singer knew beforehand that the space they were using will only be temporarily available but after discussions with the owner she assumed that they can stay in the space for at least 4 years with ample notice before they need to move. However, the permitting process was faster than expected so that Singer was only given a month’s notice.
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