ON that awful Friday night in June when Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh building burned for a second time, few could have foreseen the true consequences of the fire.

It became horribly clear early on that Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterpiece had been critically damaged. No one realised then, however, that the impact on its neighbours would also be utterly devastating.

Among the worst affected is the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), the expansive hub that straddles Sauchiehall Street and Scott Street and has been so central to Glasgow’s cultural renaissance for the last 25 years, feeding and nourishing the artists, movers and shakers of this city, pushing boundaries, changing lives. It also contains two of the best café bars in the city and has been a linchpin in Sauchiehall Street’s fragile economy for a generation.

You can’t understate the CCA’s contribution to Glasgow’s cultural scene and reputation. But neither can you play down how fundamental GSA – which sits just feet away - has been to this ongoing success. The two organisations share not only an outlook, networks and ideas, but personnel. A significant number of the CCA staff and many who exhibit there are students or former students of the art school. The centre’s visionary director, Francis McKee, is a lecturer and researcher at GSA.

It would therefore be the most terrible irony if the CCA was forced out of business due to its close proximity to its creative twin. But this is now a real possibility.

Over the last few days we learned that the centre, which unlike other Garnethill residents and businesses was not allowed back in earlier this month, is on a financial knife-edge, facing indefinite limbo and possible ruin as no date has been given for when the west façade of the Mackintosh building on Scott Street will be made safe.

The frustrating reality is that the CCA - which actually comprises 18 businesses and institutions under one banner and roof – currently has no control over its fate, and must watch helplessly as Glasgow City Council and GSA lay responsibility at each other’s door each other for the situation. The fact is, though, while the safety of the west façade of the Mack remains a concern, re-opening presents a challenge for the CCA, especially since the Scott Street door is a fire exit.

Obviously, the council has a legal obligation to keep people safe. But it’s vital now that all parties – including Creative Scotland, which owns the CCA building – come together so that energy can be put into finding creative solutions worthy of this cultural icon that would allow it to re-open, even partially, and begin to rebuild. Apportioning blame wastes time and diverts attention; what we need now is focus and action to avert disaster.

I spoke to Mr McKee over the weekend and he put forward three practical solutions that could bring things back from the brink in the short term. The first is access for a plumber and builder to assess and fix a leak that has resulted in a ceiling collapse in the exhibition space. Considering the position of these facilities in the building, accompanied safe access would surely be possible?

The second is a re-assessment of fire exits to allow partial access for businesses and customers. After all, the CCA’s Sauchiehall Street neighbours on either side are already back in business. Mr McKee also suggests a safety canopy over the Scott Street exit for the duration of remaining works to mitigate safety concerns.

The third part of the jigsaw is a date for the opening of the café bar – even if it is some way in the future – so insurers can continue to support this busy, buzzy meeting point which supports 32 jobs.

The Scottish Government fund set up in the aftermath of the fire is very welcome and will no doubt help with cash flow to some extent. But in this case money is only part of the problem, as Mr McKee’s sensible suggestions highlight. What appears to be lacking is willingness on the part of its partners and masters to really, truly stand up for this jewel in the city’s cultural crown in its hour of need.

Notwithstanding who or what was to blame for the fire at the Mack, GSA must surely feel some sense of responsibility for the situation and do more to assist, not least by providing some idea of a date for completion of work on the west façade by its contractors. It could also perhaps leverage support from the international arts community for its close friend.

The council, for its part, must find ways around the sort of “computer says no” attitudes and policies that led to so much criticism over the last weeks and could yet contribute to a slow and painful death for the CCA. Solutions can be found where there is a will to make them happen.

Only last week council leader Susan Aitken talked of culture and the arts playing “a significant role in Sauchiehall Street’s rebirth”. The way to make this happen is to ensure the street’s most valuable resident, the one that cities around the world envy and try to replicate, stays open. But time is running out.