Formerly the domain of Canada’s Harbours Board, Granville Island was transferred to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation by Ron Basford, the Minister of Urban Affairs (and Member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre) because this was under his portfolio, allowing him to take a much more direct leadership role in the revitalization effort.
Unfortunately, the founding governance model for Granville Island was unable to meet the Island’s changing needs over time. Without the original visionary project leaders to guide and support the mandate, local creative control over Granville Island waned.
The GI 2040 Report
In 2017, CMHC published Granville Island 2040: Bridging Past & Future, a bold revisioning plan that prioritized the Island’s founding principles, “building on the genius of the past” to put forth four “Strategies for Success”: to improve access, to expand the Public Market and create a “Market District”, to embrace arts and innovation, and to restore and sustain the public realm.
"Implementing strategies and recommendations of the scope and complexity of those contained in this report will require strong and effective governance and management, assuring the transparency of policy - making and the accountability of results-oriented management. Consistent public input has indicated strong support for ensuring that the culture on Granville Island is transformed to a “Culture of Yes.” (Granville Island 2040: Bridging Past & Future)
"...there are indeed real problems that must be addressed if Granville Island’s success is to be sustained. And we argue that in order to address these problems, Granville Island again needs the kind of leadership, strategic vision and bold action that laid its foundations nearly a half century ago."
– Granville Island 2040: Bridging Past & Future
In August of 2019, as part of the 2040 Implementation process, a new, 7-person, “Granville Island Council” was announced. While this council is comprised of members of the local community, it has not been granted the independence required to seek grant funding for Granville Island capital improvements, nor does it have any formal accountability to elected officials or to the general public. In order to fulfill the 2040 Plan and Granville Island’s mission statement, Friends of Granville Island plans to work with the council and other local stakeholders to increase the Island’s autonomy and help move it into the future.