Dan Fumano writes in PostMedia’s Province, with amusing speculation about where Amazon could set up its HQ2 in Metro Vancouver.  Mr. Fumano’s thoughts were developed in part via conversation with PT’s editor Gordon Price and occasional PT contributor Andy Yan.

False Creek Flats — Future Amazone?  Click to enlarge.

The Vancouver Economic Commission, the organization leading Vancouver’s bid, stated earlier this week that it’s a “cross-regional” effort including interested suburban municipalities and Metro Vancouver.
Some local politicians and civic commentators consider Vancouver a very long shot to land Amazon for several reasons.
But still, it’s a useful exercise for Metro Vancouver officials to collaboratively look at the region’s development opportunities, regardless of whether the economic commission is eventually successful in courting Amazon, said Andy Yan, director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University.


  1. I wouldn’t want to see the permanent loss of such a huge hunk of green space in Vancouver, so Langara is out in my opinion. The fact it was on the list at all was either a mistake, or is indicative of a distasteful attitude where parks have little value to cities. So what if it’s currently a golf course? Golf can be downsized and the remaining park land could be programmed for multiple outdoor uses with greater social value.
    Of the remaining the Flats may present the best site for the realization of the RFP, except for “café culture” which may have to wait until the St. Pauls hospital precinct is completed with thousands of additional workers. Of course, Amazon will create its own cafe culture, but will they share? The land will be quite cheap, but it’s important to not be rid of all the railyards; passenger rail is the future.
    Surrey — is there a there there yet? Affordable housing and cheaper land will no doubt be the easiest boxes to tick. But it is a work in progress that needs to shed its bedroom community status where 60-foot lots with SFD housing exist within 500 m of the emerging high-density Surrey Centre. Without density there is no concentrated cultural amenities.
    Production Way also presents a cultural challenge though it is close to the main SFU campus. Ridership on the Millennium Line will certainly be charged up with such a large presence next to one station. Why not split the location between Production Way and Lakecity stations?
    In addition, none of the above locations have quick access to YVR.
    Frankly, I’m surprised that the Economic Commission didn’t consider the Mt Pleasant light industrial precinct that will be served by three rapid transit stations and two separate rapid transit lines by the early 2020s. Affordable land will probably be this area’s only real stumbling block, but it seems all the other items on the checklist are present, including direct, transferless rapid transit access to downtown and YVR. Affordable housing is within 30 minutes on SkyTrain.
    Whether the EC is underestimating the effects of inviting one of the big Mothercorps into the house is also debatable (see Geof Glass’s comments and vids in the previous post on this), but as a planning exercise there are quite a few knocks against the four proposed sites outside of if a campus of 50,000 people will physically fit.

    1. Roads , bridges & transit are already near capacity. Amazon & other employment opportunities should be located south of the Fraser where there are not enough LOCAL jobs. False Creek flats should be residential high density where residents could walk ,cycle or skytrain to a downtown workplace .

        1. What is the point of protecting (or creating) C O V local jobs when there are not enough locals to fill them. ? The suburbs need more local jobs .. C O V needs a local workforce large enough for its existing jobs. Building expensive infrastructure for excessive commuting is the cost of poor planning.

        2. It’s called mixed use.
          We don’t have enough light industrial space in the city to service the needs of the city. It might make some sort of economic sense to ship those jobs to the suburbs. But it would just clog our roads even more.
          Better to get more office jobs in the suburbs where there is a lack. The suburbs, by and large, are not short of blue collar jobs, In a perfect world all of these things would be generally balanced. We won’t achieve perfection but policies should at least attempt to try.

      1. Urbanizing the suburbs would be a great long-term goal to building complete communities, but that requires a long-term commitment by senior governments to fund public transport to at least adequate levels and to follow up with appropriate zoning.
        As for locating a big single employer in the suburbs, a promise to build the city after the fact doesn’t seem like an attractive point to ponder in the bid evaluation. I suspect Amazon (or similar organizations) will find that the cheaper land and housing SoF won’t balance with the urban connectivity (downtown, YVR, transit options, established mixed use areas …) they listed so prominently in the RFP.
        Having said that, if they decide on a far flung highway-oriented, sprawling office park in suburban Atlanta with a long list of public giveaways, then their RFP would have been largely BS.

        1. (1) Most blue collar workers can”t afford to live in C O V , They live in the suburbs. (2) If those light industrial jobs moved to the suburbs the reduction in S O Vs would easily offset the additional delivery trucks coming from the suburbs . There would be LESS congestion

        2. Simplistic thinking.
          I wrote of balance and that includes affordable housing for people in jobs that service the city. The CoV needs plumbers, electricians, pipe-fitters, glaziers, steelworkers, concrete placers, welders, janitors, teachers, daycare workers, police and emergency service workers,mechanics etc. most of whom cannot afford to live in the city. Not all blue collar, or similar, jobs are transportable.
          As Andy Yan just pointed out, we can’t sprawl our way to a solution. We must provide more office jobs in the suburbs and more affordable housing in the city so there is less need for everyone to run around like headless chickens.
          The solution is not to send all blue collar jobs to the suburbs and all high paying jobs to the city. Just the opposite.

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