Emily Jackson Metro Published on Sat Nov 14 2015
Some False Creek residents are shaking their heads at a motion asking the Vancouver park board to pen a letter thanking the mayor and council for voting to tear down the viaducts, a choice that will result in a larger park next to False Creek.
Vision Vancouver commissioner Catherine Evans put forward the motion asking her fellow board members to commend council’s decision, calling it a “major step forward” to making the park a reality after being held up for years by land use issues.
But the False Creek Residents Association believes it’s way too soon to congratulate council since there are still unanswered questions about the park, according to an email from co-chair Fern Jeffries.
“It is shameful that you would waste time considering a cheerleading activity when there is so much serious work to be done,” Fern Jeffries wrote in an email.
It’s not clear why the size of the park has increased to 13 acres from nine acres when it appears to include restaurants and bars at Georgia Wharf, closes Carrall Street to cars and gets rid of a slice of Andy Livingstone Park, Jeffries wrote.
Her letter appeared to express the view of the association, which consists of people in more than 20 high-rise buildings in the neighbourhood.
But Evans’ motion will face an uphill battle considering Vision is the only party that supported removing the viaducts. The Non-Partisan Association, which voted against the tear down, holds a majority on the park board. Read more…
There won’t be much impact on traffic, there will be a bigger Creekside Park, and the $200-million cost of tearing down the massive structures will be covered by a projected $300 million in community amenity contributions, development cost levies and land sales in the neighbourhood.
But there are skeptics…
Most of the criticism of the plan for the viaducts was levelled at the timeline for Creekside Park, which may not be finished for another decade.
False Creek residents have been angry at the city and Concord Pacific for years because of delays in completing the park — there are an estimated 1,500 green lights hanging in windows throughout the neighbourhood as a protest.
On Tuesday, council voted in favour of a staff recommendation to tear down the viaducts. Green Coun. Adriane Carr tried to add an amendment that stated the park should be finished by 2024, but was rebuffed.
“The people of False Creek have been waiting 25 years for the delivery of Creekside Park,” she said. “Supposedly bringing down the viaducts will facilitate the faster development of that park, and certainly Vision has been lauding the park delivery as a key part of the viaducts decision.
“(But) when I put it into the form of an amendment, they said that would be a false promise, and they couldn’t necessarily deliver it, and it was out of our hands.”
Meggs voted against Carr’s amendment…READ MORE
Vancouverites aren’t universally sold on demolishing the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts as council is poised to determine their future – an infrastructure decision that could forever change the city’s east side and False Creek neighbourhoods…
John Murray, director of the False Creek Residents Association, questioned whether residents will actually get a bigger park if the viaducts are removed. The new map simply shows a reconfigured park, he argued, and it won’t be adequate for the thousands of extra residents.
City staff painted a picture Tuesday at council of what downtown Vancouver might look like with the removal of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts. Read more…
Fern Jeffries appeared on CBC Radio’s popular Vancouver morning show, “The Early Edition” with Rick Cluff to speak about the viaducts’ removal and to elaborate on the many unanswered questions related to project.
The FCRA has several concerns that we have repeatedly voiced.
First and foremost is the Creekside Park Extension. This park, which includes the completion of the NEFC seawall, was a contractual obligation of Concord Pacific in the Original Development Plan in 1990. They have consistently delayed the delivery of this much needed park space by shifting the parameters of that responsibility.
Now the responsibility and the possibility have been shifted to the removal of the viaducts. They are attempting to get ‘buy in’ by making yet another promise—13.75 acres instead of the 9.06 acres that is already part of the contractual agreement. Those 13.75 acres now include the land under the viaduct previously allocated to youth hard surface recreation as well as the closure of Carrall St to north/south traffic effectively making that area “park space” and the new cycling/pedestrian bridge to Dunsmuir St. They now say there will be an early phase in of the seawall. So if it is possible now to provide a completed seawall why hasn’t it been possible before? The timeline for the park as stated in the viaducts report is 2025.
Waiting another 10 years is not expediting the park.
The Park Board park space requirement is still on the books as 2.75 acres per 1,000 residents. This rationale was again ratified by the Park Board unanimously a couple of years ago. With a possible increased density of 2,500 residential units, as reported today, in order for the COV to sell enough density to pay $200 M for the viaduct removal and road changes there is absolutely no way that the community can bear that increase in population, not to mention traffic, without more offsetting green space. Where are the plans for the required social infrastructure to meet the needs of these thousands of more residents? No schools, community centres, daycares—just more and more density to contribute CACs for the viaduct removal ($200 M). If the COV is going to be negotiating with developers regarding community amenities we think that there should be more transparency in that negotiation and not just a presentation of a done deal a week before a report to council.
We still don’t know if there is a traffic plan for North/South arterial streets like Abbott, Carrall and Quebec Streets, other than the plan to close Carrall St to north/south traffic.
For anyone who lives here we see the huge volumes of traffic sitting bumper to bumper on both arms of the viaduct, especially the Dunsmuir viaduct, during rush hour and most importantly when there are concurrent events at the stadia. Or on the Park site.
There are still ongoing concerns re traffic in the 100 and 200 Blks of Prior St. The city has promised that there will be 8 M setbacks to take the pressure of the new traffic pattern off the residents who now live in those blocks. The residents never expected to have to contend with 6 lanes of traffic outside their front door. There need to be assurances that this will be mitigated.
It is unfortunate that there are still many unanswered questions. Especially: Who will benefit and who will ultimately be paying for this? What do the city taxpayers actually get? What do the developers get?
Will we be looking at a wall of condo towers separating our neighbourhoods rather than the viaducts, which we can still see over and walk under? The skytrain will still be a divisive component between neighbourhoods as will a six-lane roadway, which will need to accommodate the 40,000 vehicles currently using the viaducts as well as the 22,000 vehicles currently using the surface roads.
The Green Light Campaign remains our silent signature protest for neighbourhood green space, which has brought the community together and inspired imagination of what might be possible.
While the permit is free, you can’t anchor more than 21 days out of 40 in the winter and 14 days out of 30 in the summer. Longer than that and you need to move to a marina.
If you choose to live aboard your boat—preferring the freedom of dropping anchor or sailing away when the mood strikes—should you get free and unlimited parking?
False Creek is a desirable stop for boaters. It has a shallow and muddy bottom, which is better for securing the anchor, and it’s a beautiful setting. But if you are not hooked up to water and sewage services, is it putting public health at risk?
And who’s responsible when this happens?
An ownerless boat catches fire and the city’s engineering department is sent in to remove it. Your anchor doesn’t hold and your boat slips into a navigable channel, hits another boat, or capsizes? Who cleans up the fuel leaks?
What if your boat washes up to shore in a storm? How long does it sit there before it’s removed? Who picks up the cost of these mishaps?