June 4, 2010

Seawall Interruptus – 3

On June 10 at 9:30 am, Council will be considering a two-year extension for the floatplane terminal .  But the report recommendations say nothing about requiring a seawall connection.

THAT the Director of Planning be advised that Council would favour the approval of Development Application Number DE413848 for the continued use of the Temporary Float Plane Terminal in Coal Harbour for a further period of time, not to exceed two years from permit issuance or the completion of the new permanent facility at 1001 Canada Place, whichever is first.

The Park Board at least reports that “this missing link in the Seaside Route from the downtown to Stanley Park can only be constructed once the buildings have been removed. While pedestrians can currently circumvent this blockage by using the grand steps from the foot of Thurlow Street down to the seawall, the options for cyclists and in-line skaters are limited.”

And the Engineering Department also notes that “Should Council support a further extension of the temporary facility, staff will work with the applicant on updating this document to reflect the current situation.”

Umm, not sure what that really means – but once the lease is extended, probably not much. In fact, the floatplane operators will have an incentive to draw out the two-year extension when bargaining with the developer of the new (and more expensive) facility.

I’d recommend that Council simply require the terminal to provide a temporary route through the site as a condition of approval. It’s the least the operators can do in return for occupying the last link on the seawall between downtown and Stanley Park – now the most critical few metres on the entire seawall system and some of the most valuable space in Vancouver.

You might want to pass along your comments to .

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As noted below, the seawall from Canada Place to Stanley Park is finished – but not connected.  Though all the attention at the moment is on the Dunsmuir cycle track, there’s probably no higher priority than creating a route through the floatplane terminal that appropriates the seawall and prevents seamless access to the ramp on the convention centre.

As a consequence, everyone is forced to use the stairs.

If you’re on wheels, that means hiking your bike up or down six flights.

Or not having access at all.

UPDATE: Thomas Guerrero notes the presence of an elevator to the left of the stairs.  News to me – I don’t recall a sign indicating availability and directions – but even that is not sufficient to handle demand on a typical sunny day (assuming we get some sunny days!).

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It’s taken almost two decades, but the seawall from Canada Place to Stanley Park is almost complete.

Almost.  There is still one small section that remains blocked:

The floatplane terminal, sited just west of the new convention centre, is to be moved eventually.  But when?

Rumour has it that the City may renew the lease for this site, at least until third parties can agree on terms for a new location.   But will they require the seawall to be connected, even with a temporary link? – a policy that Councils have had in place since the Expo site was first being developed.

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