Walking by the torn up Robson Square above-ground plaza yesterday I realized I still haven’t posted about the construction. Shortly after the Olympics and Paralympics ended, my regular #5 downtown bus driver said that the route would be on a detour (right at Thurlow, left at Smithe, left at Burrard, along Pender) until at least September. Now that September is here and the plaza is still a bit of a mess, here’s the scoop on what’s going on over there.
Remediation work continues at Robson Square to preserve the heritage architecture of this three-block complex designed by Arthur Erickson. The project is part of a BC Government initiative that began in 2004 to renew the 30-year-old “building envelope” and introduce other site enhancements, including the revitalized outdoor plaza and public skating rink. The remediation project will continue through 2010. [UBC Robson Square]
The latest update on the Government of BC’s website confirms that 90 percent of the building structure is now waterproofed, which was the main concern. Where the “red spring” sculpture stands on the street-level of Robson Square they are about 60 percent complete. The road area was ripped up a few weeks ago and that stretch is now being completed. The construction is not expected to wrap up for another few months with Robson Street (between Hornby and Howe) reopening the second week of December, 2010.
The Ministry of Citizens’ Services says the “green roof” that went up and down hills on the plaza will be restored using modern green roof technology (that they did not have 32 years ago when it was first built). Trees, vines, shrubs and bushes will return (some were saved) and will be replanted.
It looks like the project will be complete by the time ice skating opens up again down below in the Robson Square GE Plaza Ice Rink.
Update It looks as though the future of the rink is undecided. News1130 reported the following September 15, 2010: “Former Minister of State for the Olympics and current Minister of Citizen Services Mary McNeil knows exactly what benefits the rink brought during the 2010 Games. However, it may not be re-opened to the public this winter. “It was an exciting spirit I think we want to try and continue. We are looking at what we can do. As you know, it’s in the midst of a huge remediation project and the building is old.” A maintenance and build contract with General Electric expired after the Paralympic Games. McNeil says the government is still looking at new funding partners.”
Update Per UBC Robson Square’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, the ice has gone down and the rink should be open for the weekend on December 5th.