It’s Official!!

The Final Vote Is In!!


Last night Vancouver Park Board Commissioners unanimously approved the joint proposal submitted by the Friends of Bloedel and VBGA!  John Coupar, Vicky Earle and Jim Brookes gave presentations to the Board which was met with a very enthusiastic response. We must thank Malcolm Bromley, the newly appointed Park Board General Manager, who fully supported our proposal that will see the Bloedel Conservatory managed jointly by the VBGA and the Park Board. This will be very similar to the way VanDusen Gardens has operated for many years. It was clear that Commissioners were impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment of the Friends of Bloedel and by the strong track record of VBGA.

The target date to complete details of the operating plan is November 1st, but the acceptance of our proposal is not contingent on finalizing these issues. What does this mean exactly?

The Bloedel Conservatory is OFFICIALLY SAVED and exciting new things will soon be underway!

We could not have achieved this historic turn around without YOUR contributions, help and support!

THANK YOU for having faith in us!

Watch for new birds that will soon be added to the family under the dome, as well as great programs, workshops, events, and other fun things to do for you and your family. Please come often and continue to advocate for Bloedel! The Park Board’s approval is the green light to “go ahead” with our plans and inspirations, now we need to financially turn the Conservatory around. The other great news is that donations will now receive a tax deductible receipt through VanDusen Garden’s charitable registration number.

As always, stay tuned here for updates and information about the fabulous plants and birds under the dome and Enjoy the Magic that is the Bloedel Conservatory!

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Call to Action: Time to Re-Stoke the Fires?

Our Bloedel Blog welcomes guest author John Coupar, President, Friends of the Bloedel.

The Friends of the Bloedel Team is concerned that the expected positive vote on Sept. 20, may not be as definitive as expected. The bottom line is we are very concerned that we may not have clear approval of our proposal on Monday September 20, 2010 as expected. This is in clear contrast to the fact that on July 20th the Services and Budgets Committee stated the following:

“The Committee thanked the Delegations for their comments and FOB/VBGA for the hard work on their proposal. The Committee expressed support for the FOBA/VBGA proposal and endorsed it going before the Board for approval in September. Staff will begin working with FOBA and VBGA on details of the proposal immediately”.

I would like to point out I have made various attempts since then to reach out to Park Board staff regarding the details, to date this meeting has not happened. The Park Board has before it a well thought out plan. The few details which need to be tweaked are not of major consequence, a delay at this point will send a very negative signal to the public as well as stakeholders. Since the July 20th meeting which we all took as a clear signal of approval we have wasted no time getting started, the Friend of Bloedel Directors have had extensive meetings with VBGA staff regarding education, marketing, plant acquisition, fund raising, events, the list goes on. Donors are waiting for the amalgamation of our two groups to trigger additional funds to our efforts. The Park Board approval is also the trigger for our two groups to move forward with our amalgamation. Any delay here as the potential of derailing critical plans to bring the Bloedel back to the asset we know it can be. I implore Park Board staff and Commissioners to show good faith and confidence in our work, let us have a clear decision and support of our proposal Monday, September 20th. We are prepared to meet any time this week and over the the upcoming weekends if needed. I know it is possible to present the Board with a late distribution report on this matter if needed. We have all worked to hard on this to allow processing to slow it down.

To all of our supporters and friends, I encourage you to contact the Vancouver Park Board Commissioners and urge them to be decisive in this process to move forward in a positive way.

Sincerely,

John Coupar, President, Friends of the Bloedel Association

Bloedel Conservatory Saved!

Eight months of very hard work, research, sleepless nights, and endless meetings have been offset by tremendous periods of encouragement and inspiration. The Friends of the Bloedel are so incredibly fortunate to have the support and backing of so many of YOU! People from across the lower mainland, Canada and abroad.

THANK YOU!!

Together we have SAVED this magical place and its future looks very bright indeed!

We are so proud to make this announcement! Of course we will be organizing a ‘bash’ to celebrate and we hope to see each and everyone of you there! In the meantime, we’ll be sending out surveys for your input and ideas. Please take part as we continue move forward to re-engage the Conservatory with our communities, schools and visitors. Our work is really just beginning and as the Bloedel has begun to win back its audience, we will still need your help for its continued success. This is a very exciting time and we want you to be a part of it!

Thanks also to everyone who came to the Budgets and Special Services Committee meeting last night at the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. There were five Commissioners in attendance: Commissioners Aaron Jasper, Ian Robertson, Loretta Woodcock, Constance Barnes, and Sarah Blyth. Their vote was unanimous in favour of our proposal to partner with the VanDusen Botanical Garden Association to help manage and operate the Conservatory.

This means that on September 20, 2010 the Vancouver Park Board will officially accept our FOBA/VBGA proposal at their full board meeting. Meanwhile, the Commissioners have directed Park Board staff to begin working with us on our plan to reinvigorate the Bloedel and improve attendance.

This journey to save the Bloedel Conservatory has been a collaborative effort and an exciting journey for us all! A special thank you goes out to Mavis Hnidy for having the insight to introduce John Coupar, Vicky Earle and Sheryl Hamilton – who by a stroke of sheer sychronicity back in November – all happened to be at the Conservatory, looking for a way to save it. That one small step set the wheels in motion in such tremendous ways! The Friends of the Bloedel Association was formed and we now look forward to a positive partnership with the VanDusen Botanical Garden Association and the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.

Do join us as we continue to take part in the magic that is the Bloedel Conservatory!

Show your Support at the Next Public Meeting!

As you likely know, the Friends of the Bloedel/VanDusen Garden Expression of Interest partnership is still being considered by the Vancouver Park Board. Four proposals were submitted back in April to help operate and manage the Conservatory to save it from closure. We have known for some time that our EOI placed in the top two. Recently, we were asked to submit a more extensive business plan to Park Board staff which was delivered first thing this morning. The final decision is still pending, but we are cautiously optimistic.

Join us at the next Public Meeting Tuesday, July 20th at the Park Board office Boardroom (2099 Beach Avenue @ 6:30) and show your support for our proposal to partner with VanDusen Garden Botanical Association!

The Bloedel is definitely on the agenda for this meeting, and the Park Board Services & Budgets Committee may announce the winning bid.

If you would like to speak on behalf of the Bloedel and/or support our partnership proposal at the meeting, contact Hart Nijjar at 604-257-8453 at the Park Board and ask to have your name placed on the speakers list.

See you there!

THANK YOU to All Our Supporters!

We are sending a heartfelt

THANK YOU

to each and every person who has helped

Save the Bloedel Conservatory!

Every donation, big and small, has helped us in our efforts. How?

Most importantly, we have kept the Conservatory open past the closure deadline! If events had continued along the original path, the doors to Bloedel would have closed forever back on March 1, 2010. Together, we have kept the Bloedel Conservatory open at least until September, 2010.

Next, we have had marketing underway for a few months now – and it is really paying off! Attendance at the Conservatory has consistently doubled or tripled every month since December. More and more people are re-discovering the beauty and the magic held within the dome. This is great news! Right now Bloedel is breaking even!! Your donations have helped make this possible! If 70,000 more people visit annually the operating deficit is history! Please keep visiting, bringing your friends and helping us spread the word!

What else? We have put on two great Events (and raised over $45,000)! ‘Garden Fever’, our next event is planned for June 24th at the VanDusen Floral Hall. We have a fun-filled Silent Auction set to go with many great gifts ‘on the block’ including, private wine tastings, art, photography, private garden tours and more!

Also, true to the mandate for Friends of the Bloedel, we have undertaken legal research to help protect the Bloedel Conservatory well into the future.

Together we have started to make a big difference!

From all of the birds and plants under the dome, and especially from Friends of the Bloedel,

We thank you again for your tremendous support!

News Update on the EOI: Our Expression of Interest is still being considered by the Vancouver Park Board. Join us at the Public Meeting June 15th, 2010 at the Park Board office Boardroom (2099 Beach Avenue @ 6:30) and show your support for our proposal to partner with VanDusen Garden Botanical Association. We are offering to work collaboratively with the Park Board to keep the Bloedel Floral Conservatory open and in public hands for generations to come, but the final decision is still pending. For more information, visit FriendsoftheBloedel.ca.

Red Macaw