Shaw Community TV’s Lucas Meijer has been following the events, activities, and aspirations of the Downtown Waterfront Working Group over the past year.
In this community program, Meijer interviews a member of the DWWG, Michael Alexander, to help explore the tremendous potential of the downtown waterfront — as an enhanced transportation hub, as a prime location for lively public spaces at the harbour’s edge, as well as for a mix of activities, including job, entertainment and cultural space. Meijer’s skillful use of visuals brings to life all the wonderful possibilities for what could become Canada’s most exciting waterfront development.


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  1. The Downtown Waterfront Working Group has achieved much in at least bringing the potentially very high public utility of the waterfront’s future as a transportation hub into public view. Yet it remains an incomplete work that must first and foremost address the ownership of the key sites.
    Where the DWWG may need a bit of an assist, would be in encouraging it to take another view: A stand for public land use and ownership rather than walking in both private commercial and public transportation camps. In the video clip Michael Alexander elucidates an improved passenger rail service, notably accommodation for future continental high speed rail, and great connectivity within a plethora of transit modes. Does the group envision what exactly that entails? One could hope for St. Pancras instead of subterranean pedestrian passages to the waterfront, and roads that allow cars surface access into the heart between private glass towers.
    If the primary function of this collection of sites is to be devoted to public service, then it follows that public ownership is a must. The federal government through Port Metro Vancouver should be encouraged to negotiate with Cadillac Fairview and possibly Aquilini via the infrastructure program for ownership of the historic CPR building, the part of the parkade that occupies the old Granville Street road allowance, and the railyards. Ownership is everything, and is the key to control of the future uses all the way out to the harbour headline.
    If the Port owned the CPR building and grounds and was undertaking a planning process regarding land use and transportation for the future, then the Corseted Strangled Jammed Tower would not have been proposed. In the old days that thing would have been featured on the Outrage page of Architectural Review.

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