NEWS

Bard on the Beach wants to lay down gravel in Vanier Park

09/22/2014 01:49 EDT | Updated 11/22/2014 05:59 EST
After 25 years, Vancouver's annual Shakespeare festival Bard on the Beach wants to put down gravel on part of the site it uses at  Vanier Park.

Every year, a 30-tonne crane has to drive up onto the grassy hill to put up its massive tent, says artistic director Christopher Gaze.

"Currently, when we drive it up there, if the weather goes like this, and it's going like this, it'll go up to its axle. It costs thousands of dollars to rent this thing, and it disappears into the mud," he told Rick Cluff on The Early Edition.

"That's just one thing, let alone other vehicles driving across the site to take it all down, and put it away for the winter. And then it April, to put it all up again. It just leaves this mud surface."

Gaze says over the years, the festival has put in drainage for the site, but that has been insufficient.

Some residents who use Vanier Park regularly oppose the proposal, which includes other changes to the park.

"Why do we have to keep putting statues, benches, water fountains, gravel pathways, concrete into our parks?" says Elvira Lount, a founder of the group Keep Kits Beach Wild.

Lount questions the benefit of the changes to anyone outside of Bard on the Beach, but Gaze says the festival does benefit everyone.

"It's all to do with the enrichment of the city, it really harms nobody at all," he says.

"We're already in the park, and we're not going anywhere, and if people want a Shakespeare festival, we must look after it, take care of it."

Gaze says as things are, it costs a fortune to set up on the current site. He estimates the costs of all these changes would be about $150,000, which Bard on the Beach would pay for.

People can share their opinions with Bard on the Beach through an online survey until September 30.

Google Maps: Vanier Park

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