The City of Vancouver has told us there is an opportunity to include space/funding for an all-ages music venue in this year’s Capital Plan. The Capital Plan is a basically a budget for the next four years of City operations. It goes on the ballot of every municipal election in the form of a yes-no question and pretty much always passes. There’s an election this November, so the proposed Capital Plan is being written right now. We’ve been told that if we can get a thousand letters of support for an all-ages venue, the City would look very seriously at including one in the Plan. We’ve decided to go for it, and are asking you to help by sending a letter. There is no firm deadline for this, but we believe they will be making decisions in the next two weeks, so please get on it ASAP.
It’s important to note that this does not associate you or us with any particular political party – the Capital Plan is a separate question on the ballot from where you vote for candidates. Basically, we were told that the City wants to get young people excited about the election, and that including an all-ages music venue in the Capital Plan might just do the trick. So what have we got to lose? It takes 2 minutes to send an email… please help us out. Thanks!
Two options for writing:
1. Copy and paste our letter below, being sure to fill in the blanks. Some examples of closed venues are Zoo Zhop, Red Gate I, W2, Hoko’s, Artbank, the Emergency Room, Nyala, the Sweatshop, 360 Glen, John, Goody, Goonies, Honey, Richards on Richards, and the Mansion.
2. Write your own letter from scratch. Be sure to introduce yourself, state what you are asking for (an all-ages venue to be included in the Capital Plan), explain why this is important to you, note the issues with other venues past and present, mention Safe Amp’s Feasibility Study and venue proposal, and perhaps talk about venues you’ve seen in other cities.
Two options for sending:
1. Email your letter to email@example.com and CC it to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can keep track of how many are being sent. Use a subject line that mentions All-Ages Venue and Capital Plan.
2. Handwrite or print your letter on paper and give it to us to deliver – you can drop it off at any Astorino’s event over the next couple weeks. We’ll also have letter-writing stations set up at our shows if you’d rather just write it there between bands.
Thank you so much. Below is a sample letter you could copy and paste.
<3 Safe Amp
Dear Vancouver Mayor and Council,
My name is _______, I am_____ years old, and I have been a[fan / audience member / performer / event organizer / etc] in Vancouver’s music community since ______. I am writing to ask that space be set aside in this year’s Capital Plan for an all-ages music venue in Vancouver. Live music venues are important. ______[Say why are venues important to you]______. I have seen many beloved venues come and go. Some of my favourite defunct venues include ____[your favourite defunct venues]____. It seems the most stable spaces are either bars, which young people are not allowed to enter, or costly rental facilities, which most young people cannot afford to book. I firmly believe that Vancouver’s youth would benefit tremendously from a legal, sustainable, affordable and accessible all-ages music venue.
The Safe Amplification Site Society recently published a comprehensive Feasibility Study which determined that an all-ages venue need not be large: 120 m2 of assembly space would have a 200-person capacity. The study also sets out ideal venue locations based on zoning, demand, and local amenities.
For the past year and a half, Safe Amp has been operating a temporary venue at Astorino’s in East Vancouver. With earned income from events and generous donations the organization continues to break even, despite paying market rate rent. Unfortunately, with no money to pay staff, volunteer resources are stretched to the limit. If the City of Vancouver provided a physical space, regular income could be put towards staffing instead of rent and the project could sustain itself indefinitely.
Other cities have municipal support for all-ages venues; the Vera Project thrives in its Seattle Center location with rent subsidized by the City of Seattle. In the Midwest, Rhino’s All-Ages Club partners with the City of Bloomington to provide a music venue and youth center, while in the Southwest, Warehouse 21 is funded by the City of Santa Fe. In Canada, the Halifax Pavilion operates on city property with public support. I believe comparable government support is essential in Vancouver, which economists have determined to be the least affordable city in North America.
Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to voting for this year’s Capital Plan.
____[your name and home address]____________,
____[your band or organization if you have one]___