W2 media hub faces eviction from City

In an article published today in The Globe and Mail, many learned that the non-profit W2 media centre has been served an eviction notice by their landlord, the City of Vancouver. On Friday, Mayor Robertson spoke at a Creative Mornings event at W2, and apparently undercover cops were placed in the audience to deal with any potential confrontations surrounding the W2 eviction.

W2 has since laid of its staff and the organization is going forward with an organizational restructuring. As reported in the article, W2 does not pay rent for the space but has an $85,000 annual ‘amenity’ fee which it has not paid to the City. A quick calculation means that this is $7,083/month.

A December 7th article from Megaphone Magazine also provides more details on this story:

Councillor Kerry Jang explained the city’s actions. “It [W2 Media Café] wasn’t making any money,” said Jang. “The business model that was there clearly wasn’t working. That’s what our city staffs and everyone are trying to figure out now: how to reinvent the space, how to reuse the space in order to make a go of it.”

More details to follow in coming days.

W2 is not the only non-profit community arts venture to face financial hardship. Vancouver’s Playhouse Theatre Company called it quits earlier this year and MusicFest Vancouver decided to end its annual festival series. For more discussion around these issues, and specifically the struggling arts sector, check out a past podcast featuring the City of Vancouver’s Managing Director of Cultural Services Richard Newirth.

One comment

  1. Sara

    I am a fan and regular supporter of W2, but let’s be fair here… W2 is not “self-funded” as they say… they were GIVEN…as in FOR FREE a 10,000 square foot space in downtown Vancouver. Then they were GIVEN the money to demise the space into what it is. Is it an important space? Sure! But don’t go calling bullshit on the city for an eviction notice from an organization that KNOWINGLY signed a contract stating they agreed to pay $85,000/year in amenity fees, then simply DID NOT PAY THEM! So really, here is an organization that has not paid one penny in expenses to rent/amenity fees, claims all over the place how they don’t take ‘public funding’ (as though the money from the city is not public funding) but have completely failed financially. So where is the problem?

    It’s time for W2 to climb down from their pedestal and stop with the holier than thou bullshit. Like it or not, when the city buys you a building and renovates it for you, you are officially publicly funded. When you sign a contract with a landlord that you will pay $X per year, expect an eviction notice when you don’t pay. It’s absolutely ridiculous and laughable for W2 to claim that they are not being treated fairly.

    Don’t get me wrong… I hope W2 remains in the Woodwards building… and I hope both the city and W2 will get a little more realistic in considering future negotiations. Amenity fees are lunacy… but W2 should respect the contracts they sign. Suck it up.

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