Granville Construction Jeopardizes VIFF

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

Ready to go - VIFF08Every year hundreds of thousands of locals and guests from around the world enjoy the Vancouver International Film Festival. I’ve had the pleasure of covering the events so far for my weekly E!Online column and am just beginning to comprehend the months of planning, scheduling, and hard work that goes into making this event take place each year.

Unfortunately the City of Vancouver’s utility construction on Granville Street, that was supposed to wrap up at the end of summer, is currently obstructing filmgoers and causing a major disturbance to this festival that will only last until October 10th.

The management of Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) is doing everything in its power to avert a serious disruption of our event by construction work just now beginning outside the Empire Granville 7 Cinemas at 855 Granville Street. The noise generated from this work could well mean the cancellation of many of the 200 screenings remaining at this venue… .

..We have received sympathetic counsel from everyone we spoken to at City Hall and at B.C. Hydro, but nothing has so far averted this extremely serious blow to the Festival.

According to the City of Vancouver’s website, the utilities road work on Granville (from Cordova to Drake) should have been over with July 31, 2008 with a few exceptions surrounding the Canada Line.

City waterworks crews have begun a significant upgrade to the water supply system on Granville. Watermain construction is expected to be completed by Sept with the exception of water distribution pipes which will be installed after the Canada Line stations are completed.

The VIFF is important to a city in which the film industry is so vital. It’s not only a chance to celebrate those who create local productions, but also invite the world into our backyard that is often portrayed as some place else on screen.

It is understood that construction is also a crucial element to keeping this city functioning, however it is a shame that this project (that has long overrun its completion date) is standing in the way of the festival. Screenings have not yet been canceled yet the sound of jackhammers and asphalt sawing is affecting theatres 3, 4, 5, and 6 as well as outside communications (you’ll notice there are a few tents setup for ticket purchase and general information). Hopefully something can be worked out since rescheduling and shuffling the 200 screenings set to take place at this venue seems like an impossible, at best daunting, task.

Update 2:25pm From the VIFF: “Our director, Alan Franey, finally visited the site this morning, spoke to the supervisor who said it was a Hydro project and Alan connected him with a Hydro boss, who had the construction shut down until after the end of the Festival on October 10th.”

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