“Ms. Itter, 75, is slowly emptying the cabin where she and Al Neil have been making art and music for decades. They received an eviction notice from Port Metro Vancouver in the fall with a Jan. 31 deadline to vacate, and a demolition permit has been issued for Feb. 1.”
“Now a number of prominent players on the local art scene are working to save the little cabin that tells a big story about Vancouver’s history.
The waterfront area was once home to a number of squatters – many of whom were artists, including the author Malcolm Lowry. He lived in a series of shacks in what is now Cates Park, where he wrote much of his classic Under the Volcano. The nearby cabin that has been home and studio to Mr. Neil and Ms. Itter is believed to have been made in Coal Harbour by a Scandinavian craftsman in the 1930s.
Mr. Neil, now 90 – a musician, composer and visual artist who received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award last year – has lived in the cabin on and off since 1966, serving as a sort of beach watchman for the company next door, McKenzie Barge. He initially paid rent to the shipyard – $15 a month, “and then eventually they said don’t bother,” says Ms. Itter, a sculptor and writer who joined Mr. Neil 13 years after he moved in.”
“’We live in such a redevelopment city and there’s so little of heritage that gets saved here and I think this is a very important piece of Vancouver heritage that we should all really think about before we let it go,’ says Glenn Alteen with the Grunt Gallery.”
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