Moving VSB’s Little Yellow Building to Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) Nation
On March 10, 2023, VSB received a formal request from Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) Nation to repurpose and relocate the Little Yellow Building (Building) from the Henry Hudson Elementary site to their territory in North Vancouver. The Building was originally scheduled to be deconstructed as part of the process to replace Hudson Elementary with a new seismically safe school.
Once the formal request was received from Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) Nation, VSB staff received approval from the Ministry of Education and Child Care to contribute funds, which included the budget for deconstruction to help move the building. The relocation was a complex project. The building had to be moved through the residential streets of Kitsilano via truck and then transported on a barge across the Burrard Inlet.
“It was a team effort from the start to get the project underway and the building ready to be transported,” says Robert Ashley, VSB Project Manager who helped facilitate the move. The relocation required multiple organizations and city departments working together.
To get out of Vancouver, the Building needed to physically move through Kitsilano, which has many narrow streets and tight corridors. The City of Vancouver was involved for permitting and ensuring no cars are parked along the street. BC Hydro was required to raise electric wiring and the Park Board gave authorization to transport the building through the beach. The plan even had to accommodate the moon’s schedule as they needed to wait for high tide to move the Building over the water. The Park Board’s Park Development team selected Kits Beach Park as the embarkation point. They worked with archeology staff to minimize disruption to the beach’s ecology.
Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) Nation Spokesperson Sxwíxwtn (Wilson Williams) says that the Building will help address the Nation’s infrastructure needs.
“It will be put to good use as a dedicated space to teach our little ones Sḵwx̱wú7mesh sníchim, our language, and immerse our future generations in our culture and heritage,” he says in a statement. “We are so pleased to work with our partners at the Vancouver School Board and Renewal Home Development.”
In addition to the work done by the City of Vancouver, the Park Board and the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) Nation, the assistance of Nickel Brothers was also important. Nickel Brothers are experienced building relocators that undertook the physical task of moving the Building. As well, Renewal Home Development helped bring the different groups together.
“It’s been many months of planning and permit applications and a very big group effort. There’s been dozens and dozens of people who helped make this happen,” says Glyn Lewis, owner of Renewal Home Development.
This project was a tremendous team effort and a notable example of collaboration amongst staff across different public entities. VSB appreciates and acknowledges the countless hours of staff time to successfully complete this complex move. At the end of the day, this beloved building will be repurposed to continue to serve children today and in the years ahead.