Frank Ducote writes:
Almost 50 years later and there still isn’t a workable vision for our downtown waterfront. (Note where Woodwards is in this picture. Yikes!)

project-200Click to enlarge

Through the efforts of many determined people (Downtown Waterfront  Working Group, in particular), there seems to be renewed interest in the the Planning Department and its new leader to finally revisit this very challenging but fantastic opportunity.


  1. Pingback: gramirezblog
  2. Cities that have a cohesive vision for their waterfronts are able to achieve outstanding results locally and globally put their city on the map… and its never too late to create that vision. Vancouver has had much success in many part of its waterfront, but without a clear vision for the remaining parcels moving forward, its left to the roll of the dice. I have had the privilege in my career to work for the visionary organization Waterfront Toronto whose entire focus is to create a locally loved and globally recognized waterfront- opening the City to the water and giving Toronto a new front door. Having led the West Don Lands masterplan and redevelopment, I got to understand the opportunities, successes and challenges of setting up a waterfront redevelopment agency. The strong vision, clear priorities, and public and private partnerships were just a few aspects of the success that the organization has been, and continues to achieve in transforming the City of Toronto’s waterfront into a local and global destination. The model of using public sector dollars to leverage private sector investment and focusing on design excellence have also been key to the success. Vancouver and other cities in the Region can learn so much from this successful model of waterfront revitalization and the organization itself- but it has to start with a clear and defined vision.

    1. What site, besides the False Creek Flats, are there to do this in Vancouver ? Perhaps if the railway is taken out west of the container port in its entirety all the way to the East Convetion Center then (and only then) there is an area big enough to warrant that. Are there palns to do that downtown Vancouver ?
      The only other area I can think of is the Langara Golf Course, or new lands being created in the Fraser River Delta or Boundary Bay [ both outside Vancouver]

  3. A challenging site indeed! I have seen rail tanker cars parked on some of the 19 rail sidings that would be under the buildings in the illustration. Who knows what they contain?
    Carla makes some good points, but I think the land ownership question needs to be addressed with respect to the public good as a first step. There is a concentrated public transportation presence on this site that takes place in private buildings and on private land.
    This could be very problematic, especially in light of the horribly inappropriate cinched corset tower proposed for the east CPR / Waterfront Station property. Cadillac Fairview, the previous owner of The Station and Granville Square, was recently sold to a large Canadian pension fund, but does that mean the tower project is no longer on the books? Does Francesco Aquilini’s ownership of the railyards bode well for public transport? Should the federal Liberals be encouraged to consider acquiring all the associated private properties under Port Metro Vancouver to reserve it for future public uses, and as an asset in its infrastructure bank?
    Any vision assigned to this site must, as a deep priority, look into the future of 21st Century transportation and this site’s deep rail history and direct connectivity to salt water. Hint: it won’t look altogether like last century’s transportation.

    1. The Aquilini family do not, and never have owned the railyards. To quote from the Whitecaps FC website: “After purchasing Vancouver Whitecaps FC in 2002, Greg Kerfoot had a vision for the future of soccer in British Columbia and Canada. At the heart of this vision was a new outdoor stadium for Vancouver. A stadium that could house the Whitecaps men’s and women’s teams, as well as play host to international soccer matches featuring Canada’s national teams, and top-level clubs from around the world.”
      The practicalities of fitting a stadium over the top of an active railyard that may, or may not contain ‘dangerous cargoes’ at any time, and also ensuring adequate safe exits if an emergency occurred at the stadium were among the reasons why the Whitecaps opted to play in the renovated BC Place Stadium.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *