Downtown Waterfront Working Group

The Downtown Waterfront Working Group (on Facebook), a citizen’s group dedicated to rejuvenating the Vancouver downtown waterfront, published their draft discussion paper outlining issues for the future of the downtown waterfront.

dwwg cover 30may+2px

The complete discussion paper can be downloaded here
Or, read online at Gordon Price’s blog here.

Excerpts from the discussion paper:

SUMMARY

  • In 2009, Vancouver City Council endorsed the Central Waterfront Hub Framework which outlined a vision for the Central Downtown waterfront. Council has not yet taken any steps to implement the Framework.
  • It contains some very exciting ideas such as the re-opening of Granville Street to the waterfront and multi-use development/public space creation over the railway yards.
  • A recent development proposal at 555 West Cordova is the first development proposal for lands located within the Hub Framework planning area [north of Cordova]. It is located on the last remaining Downtown waterfront parcel.
  • Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited owns Waterfront Station, 555 West Cordova, and 200 Granville Street, including the parking structure occupying the Granville Street alignment north of Cordova, on the west side of the Waterfront Station. The implementation of the Granville Street extension should be figured out in tandem with the consideration of the 555 West Cordova development proposal.
  • The recent announcement of a potential redevelopment of the Sinclair Centre, as well as other development projects, gives added impetus to re-thinking the future of Granville Street as the gateway to the waterfront.
  • The City of Vancouver is not obligated to approve the proposed development at 555 West Cordova because the density associated with the site is not “outright” but has to be earned by complying with all of the City’s plans, policies and guidelines.
  • To date, the City has not agreed to convene any public process for either the future of the waterfront or 555 West Cordova, other than procedures required by the Development Permit Board.
  • The Downtown Waterfront Working Group is a newly-established group of citizens who has come to together to help realize the spectacular potential of the waterfront.

We are concerned that a decision made on 555 West Cordova without taking into consideration the wider context will close down options for the future of the waterfront.

REQUEST TO THE CITY

1) Re-fresh the Central Waterfront Hub Framework to incorporate changes in the key drivers since 2009 when the Framework was adopted, including alternatives for the transportation circulation network.
2) Consider the development proposal for 555 West Cordova only after the Central Waterfront Hub Framework is updated in the context of what Cadillac Fairview and the other landowners can do to help implement the Hub Framework, enhance downtown waterfront access, heritage values and public spaces.

Site for the proposed tower at 555 West Cordova

Site for the proposed tower at 555 West Cordova. Photo Michael Alexander

FUTURE OF OUR WATERFRONT: KEY ISSUES 

  1. Our Central Downtown Waterfront needs an updated plan
  2. Re-connecting Granville Street to the waterfront: functional and fabulous
  3. Achieving neighbourliness and sensitivity to the heritage context
  4. A tremendous opportunity to create a beautiful street-level urban space
  5. Maximizing access to the waterfront and preservation of public views
  6. Parking issues warrant a closer look
  7. Better transportation solutions may be possible
  8. Preserving our heritage
  9. Coordinated effort of key players will enhance possibilities for the waterfront
  10. Job space in the Metro Core
  11. Risk/rewards of pausing to refresh Central Waterfront Hub Framework
Granville Street 1940s - open to the docks and North Shore mountains

Granville Street 1940s – open to docks and mountan views. City Archives

The complete discussion paper can be downloaded here
Or, read online at Gordon Price’s blog here.