To Mayor And Council on Removal of The Viaducts

City staff plan

City staff plan

We recognize that the whole city should be engaged in the discussion of the removal of the viaducts. The viaducts serve as a major transportation corridor providing access to the city core from the eastern part of our city. The area around False Creek has the potential to be a significant heritage and green space – a recreation destination for residents and visitors alike.

There are many wonderful features in the plans presented by city staff and we are supportive of the actual removal of the viaducts. However, speaking on behalf of residents who will be most directly impacted by any changes, we cannot endorse the city plan at this time’ without a comprehensive process of investigation into the community related aspects of this proposal. We would hope that this process evolves over the course of one year, maximum, to ensure that the process itself does not devolve into a lengthy debate without resolve.

We provide the following qualifications to our support:

After 2 years of discussions with Concord Pacific and the community the city endorsed a re-configuration of the Creekside Park site even though the community had not signed off on the debate. The possible re-configuration of the park site would enable Concord Pacific to realize a greater density along Pacific Blvd. This was endorsed by the city, but not the neighbourhood, as a way of expediting the delivery of Creekside Park by not having to do the extensive soil remediation which has been the focus of the rationale for a delayed park. The city’s viaduct removal plan does not allow for the re-configuration proposal so the community is confused as to the rationale and the community is now back to the original soil remediation plan that would see the toxic soils from Lot 6C buried in Lot 9.

The City should insist that any plans involving Concord Pacific in re-profiling their False Creek holdings should include the immediate transfer of title for lot 9; the immediate “building out” of the northeast corner of the seawall; and the immediate development of Creekside Park. Nothing in the plans for removal of the viaducts should interfere with the immediate delivery of Creekside Park.

The needs of residents who live adjacent to Prior St, both east and west of Main St. must be taken into account. This includes immediate traffic calming on Prior Street, a comprehensive investigation into the community’s traffic proposal to move the transportation plan to Union St. and that there is progress on developing the Malkin Avenue route to ensure the calming of the Strathcona neighbourhood which had been a major priority for the viaduct removal. The Union St. traffic plan would decrease some of the density, increase park space and alleviate the questionable and contentious Prior St to Venables “ six lane “ roadway without impacting the Adanac cycle route .

Removing the viaducts means that the city must find alternate transportation routes for the 43,000 vehicular trips per day currently accommodated by the viaducts. These alternatives cannot add to congestion of neighbourhood streets, e.g. Pender, Keefer, and Quebec.

There is no need to re-configure Andy Livingstone Park. Millions of dollars have been spent on this beautiful park and on the Carrall Street Greenway. The community is adamantly opposed to any plan to “ straighten” Carrall St. which would change Andy Livingstone park. We would not support this plan unless there is a more compelling reason for this expenditure.

Award-winning plan by Larry Beasley; Jim Green; Norman Hotson and Margot Long.

Award-winning plan by Larry Beasley; Jim Green; Norman Hotson and Margot Long.

The design competition entry from Larry Beasley, Norm Hotson, Margo Long, and Jim Green proposed much more park space than is presented in the city’s proposal.( an additional 3 ac of quasi usable space) What has been increased is building density, Quebec St to Gore St., without an increase in park/green/ recreational space.

The Re-Connect design competition was focussed on “ connecting” the neighbourhoods of Chinatown, Gastown, DTES, Strathcona to False Creek but we see little possibility of this if 1000 residential units are built on the Quebec to Gore land that would be available once the viaducts are removed. Citygate has 1000 residential units on 9 acres so we cannot envisage 1000 units on approx. 5 acres.

It was with trepidation but with a sense of interest and intrigue that we “bought into” the Beasley/Green plan because it showed what ?could be’ or the fantasy of what could be. The majority of those who saw the plan thought great things were possible, finally. But the city plan has shown us the reality of what ?will be’ rather than what is possible so our trepidation has been realized and we were right to be distrustful of the fantasy.

We are also wondering what has happened to the possibility of a dragonboat house for the east end of False Creek. This does not appear in either the Beasley plan nor the city plan.

We had such high hopes that there would finally be a plan that would be inspirational; that would move NEFC into the future; that we would be able to see this miraculous change happen in our lifetime. We did our best to facilitate the opportunity for council and staff to inform the community and looked forward to participating in the dream. The City of Vancouver should be clear on the details before it votes to proceed with this project. There is an obvious need for the City to really demonstrate to the public that the long-term good of the public is net positive from this change by way of extended public comment, third party cost benefit analysis, and peer review before approving it in any form.

We trust that you will take these considerations into account as you determine the future of our community.

Regards,
Patsy McMillan and Fern Jeffries, Co-chairs, False Creek Residents Association, on behalf of the FCRA Board of Directors

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