May 29, 2015

City Conversations: Downtown Waterfront – Jun 4


City Conversations – The Future of Our Downtown Waterfront


Vancouver’s downtown waterfront suddenly is in play, and many projects and opportunities are on independent tracks. Do landowners and developers make independent decisions, or does the city act as a coordinator, facilitator and advocate for the public?

Our presenters are Graham McGarva, principal of Via Architecture; Anita Molaro, Assistant Director of Planning at the City of Vancouver; and Frank Ducote, representing the citizens’ Downtown Waterfront Working Group.

Please feel free to bring your lunch. Because of the number of presenters and interests involved, this conversation will be extended to 2 pm.


Thursday, June 4

12:30 – 2 pm

Room 1700, Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street

Free – no registration required

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    1. So for some of the most valuable waterfront land in North America (If you could purchase the airspace over the rail tracks) you propose to put a series of schools? Talk about not unlocking the value of real estate.

  1. The air rights over the tracks were purchased some years ago for a Whitecaps stadium. So far as I know they are still available. And yes, I believe “not unlocking the value of real estate” for our children’s education is worth far more than an off-shore speculator’s profits. You are yesterday the kids are tomorrow!

    1. Put a park and public space there, absolutely. But a school? Seriously a waste of space. Plus why on earth would you have school children commuting into a CBD? Where are the statistics that this is even required? You’ve lost credibility on this one Roger.

  2. There are a surprising number of children living on the downtown peninsula, but I doubt there are many near Waterfront Station. It seems a poor location for a school.

    There have been innumerable reports on the overcrowding at downtown elementary schools, about the lottery system used to admit new students and about the long treks downtown parents have to make to find a spot for their children. There are already more students on the waiting list for Elsie Roy Elementary than will fit into the new school at International Village when it’s built.

    It’s true that enrolment has been dropping in other parts of the city and there has been a shift to independent schooling (the Premier’s personal choice), but insisting that there be children waiting for a school before you even start looking for land to build one on isn’t a very good plan.

    That sort of thinking could be a problem for a site like Jericho Garrison. If a lot of kids end up in the new development there won’t be anywhere for them to attend school nearby. That’s because the current seismic upgrade program is building schools that are roughly 20% smaller than the ones they’re replacing. The Provincial Government is banking on reduced numbers of public school children and if that doesn’t occur Jericho could end up like downtown: 10 years behind the demand curve.

    There’s no room in the local private school system either: West Point Grey Academy has a waiting list.

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