04/23/2013 10:33 EDT | Updated 06/23/2013 05:12 EDT

Vancouver city council to debate proposed VAG move

Vancouver city council is set to debate a staff report that recommends a downtown parking lot and former park site should become the future site of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

If city council approves the recommendations and the gallery comes up with $150 million, the parking lot bounded by Cambie, Dunsmuir, Beatty and West Georgia streets could be the gallery's larger, future home.

VAG has already secured $50 million from the province and another $40 million in pledges from private donors.

But James Moore, Canada’s Heritage Minister, has yet to commit federal funding.

Critics like Vancouver city councillor George Affleck worry the funding plan will fall flat.

"Given the provincial and federal government's current concerns regarding their finances and taxpayers' potential unwillingness to be a part of this, I'm concerned that this might be overly restrictive to the art gallery and, therefore, making it almost impossible for them to achieve success," he said.

The gallery has been negotiating for years with the City of Vancouver to find a space on which to develop a larger building, and in 2010 said it has found an ideal location at 688 Cambie — a full city block formerly known as Larwill Park.

Squeezed for space in a former provincial courthouse on Hornby Street, VAG is only able to exhibit about three per cent of its permanent collection at any given time.

Public input on the proposal will be heard at city hall on Wednesday.