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.