City unveils massive plan for Northeast False Creek

Thursday, January 25th, 2018

Huge plan for Northeast False Creek unveiled

John Mackie
The Province

The city of Vancouver released its much-ballyhooed “final plan” for Northeast False Creek Wednesday, and it’s massive — 174 pages long.

If everything works out as planned, the plan will lay the foundation for a new waterfront neighbourhood with 10,000 to 12,000 residents.

Many will be housed in a forest of highrise condos that stretches from the Plaza of Nations on the west, to Carrall Street on the east. But there will also be lots of social housing in the mix — 1,800 units, which are expected to house about 3,500 people.

The plan includes taking down the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, which will be replaced by an expanded street network, probably in about four years.

Three acres of waterfront park will be added to the neighbourhood this summer, and by the time the plan is completed in 20 years Creekside Park will be expanded by another eight acres.

For one, the city is looking to shake up the type of highrises that have remade the downtown core.

“We heard loud and clear from the public that they want to see experimentation in architecture, beyond the typical point towers we do in Vancouver,” said McNaney.

“They want to see green on buildings, and they want to see publicly accessible spaces on buildings, so we’ve really been playing with forms here. It’s sort of the next great step in Vancouver urbanism.”

The other big departure is that there will be retail and commercial buildings on the waterfront.

“It’s really a bit more like a Darling Harbour in Sydney (Australia), where it’s a vibrant commercial waterfront,” said McNaney.

“There will be roughly 1.8 million square feet of commercial space. What that means is that the waterfront wharf area won’t have one restaurant, it’ll have 20 to 30.

“On top of that, it’ll be south-facing waterfront, so it’ll be usable for a lot of the year. Even when it’s raining you can still have shelter and a wonderful vibrant space.”

NPA councillor George Affleck has been critical of parts of the plan, questioning whether developers will ante up $230 million for the removal of the viaducts and some new streets. But overall he thinks the plan is “pretty cool.”

“One of the things I think is missing in our city on the water is any kind of engagement with regards to retail, shops and restaurants,” said Affleck.

“To see that sort of promenade in that whole area I think will be exciting. I think the design on the inside (of the neighbourhood), the smaller streets and the planned community (also) looks really exciting.”

McNaney said the two developers in the area (Concord Pacific and Canadian Metropolitan Properties) have already submitted some plans for new developments, and that there will be probably be 20 to 25 highrises once everything is built.

The tallest site will be at Georgia and Pacific, where the city envisions a 425-foot tall building, which probably means 46 or 47 storeys.

“It will really mark that important intersection, where ceremonial Georgia meets the new Pacific,” said McNaney.

McNaney said the city revised the plan after community consultation. But northeast False Creek resident Fern Jeffries thinks the plan is “fundamentally flawed” because it was predicated on the removal of the viaducts, which she believes will bring a lot more traffic to the neighbourhood.

“I think that their focus has been so much on what they portray as a new community that they really have ignored the needs and issues of existing residents,” said Jeffries.

“They tout how many consultations there has been, blah blah blah, and I mean it’s just a crock.”

The plan goes before Vancouver council next week, when the public will have an opportunity to comment.

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