December 10, 2020

Heritage Commission Strongly Rejects “The Icepick”

At its meeting on December 7, 2020 the Vancouver Heritage Commission strongly rejected the Cadillac Fairview development next to Waterfront Station.*

The vote was 2 in favour, and 8 against. The two members in support did not speak during the meeting so we do not know their reasons.

The Commission sent strong signals that the most appropriate use of the space is a public “Station Square” and asked City staff to explore density transfers to relieve any future development pressure.

Michael Kluckner explained that there are good juxtapositions of old and new, but not all juxtapositions are good. He gave three examples of  downtown projects (Stock Exchange, Royal Bank, and Post Office) to indicate that their evaluation was not a simple “anti-change” perspective.



* Draft resolutions from the Heritage Commission meeting of December 7. 2020

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From Frank Ducote:


The so-called Ice Pick proposed for the parking lot at 555 West Cordova Street next to the CPR Station is back for public review and comment and – they hope – City approval.

In order to enlarge the discourse, the DOWNTOWN WATERFRONT WORKING GROUP has been working for five long years to propose and enlist support for an alternate vision for this key site on our waterfront. Here are some ideas for a strong public realm for a long-overdue plan for Vancouver’s Central Waterfront.

The main key to unlock this potential is for the two main property owners to collaborate or joint venture for their own and the City’s greater good.

This concept proposes the office building be reconfigured and placed away from Station Square, east of the Station itself.

This concept proposes the office building be reconfigured to provide a major gathering place. A taller joint venture building could be placed behind The Landing (centre left in the photo).

Second, it is important to not have a bus road through Station Square! That would be a horrible blow to the enjoyment of any public square, and is simply not required here if the much-needed Granville Street and Canada Place road extensions can do the job. A pedestrian and wheel-friendly link here from the Square to the waterfront is most appropriate.

Third, the new land uses over the rail tracks cannot be just for office uses; that would be a killer for life in the evening and on weekends. Hotels, shops, cafes and possible some ancillary residential uses to help animate this precious resource should be incorporated.

Next, public gathering and viewing spaces of various sizes should be provided along with development. These sketches show a few opportunities for such features to whet your appetite for this major redevelopment site.

Last, and this is most important, no individual development should receive approval until the 2009 (!) Framework is updated into a coherent and firm vision and adopted by Council.

Let’s not squander this once in a lifetime opportunity, Vancouver!


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