January 31, 2018

Northeast False Creek Plan, Coalition of Neighbourhoods, and Three Too Tall Towers

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods has written the following statement on their website regarding the Northeast False Creek Plan. Several of their points are very salient. If you have had a look through the 300 plus pages of the document it  has some great work, including addressing the historical Hogan’s Alley. But there are also some quite frankly puzzling things, including three oversized towers compromising the City’s highly valued View Protection Policy  and the fact the document was released only six days before being voted upon by Council.
There is also no rationale other than that of a “very big gateway” for allowing three 40 storey plus buildings that will pierce through the carefully established View Corridor policy. You can read that policy here.
The reason for the  View Corridor Policy was to ensure that Vancouver’s skyline continued its connection to nature and the surrounding mountains. There are 27 protected view corridors established to protect the views of the mountains, skyline and surrounding water. “In order to reduce urban sprawl, the City considers higher buildings that don’t impact the protected views”.  The three tall towers proposed in this new development do not have any rationale for compromising the view corridor.
The Coalition of Neighbourhoods Memo to Council is below.

Coalition writes council on Northeast False Creek Plan (NEFC Plan) & Viaducts Replacement Project

On Tuesday, January 31, 2018, Vancouver City Council is set to hear and decide on a report from City staff regarding “Northeast False Creek Plan (“NEFC Plan”) and Viaducts Replacement Project.” This is a significant report and decision. The agenda and official document are here: http://council.vancouver.ca/20180131/cfsc20180131ag.htm
The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods wrote the following letter to Mayor and Council on this topic.
January 30, 2018
City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Gregor Robertson and Councillors,
Re: North East False Creek Report to Council
The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods has consistently been concerned about the planning processes at City Hall. Those concerns continue with the issuance last week of the North East False Creek Report that comes before Council on January 31, 2018.
General comments:

  • The 368-page Report going to Council on January 31 gets released to the public on
    January 24. This gave citizens only six days to review 368 pages.
  • The North East False Creek Stewardship Group held a meeting in which members
    stated that while they had met with the city for 16 months to work on this planning
    process, they had seldom seen their opinions expressed in any of the sections of the
    report. Some members, discouraged by what they saw as a process that only served towaste their time, ended their participation. Is something wrong with the process?
  • Some subjects, such as the realignment of Carrall Street, were never discussed with the public in the formulation of the Report.
  • It would be informative to have the calculations for density be made public so all can see the cost/benefits for the City and the economic realities of such a project.
  • Is this an extension or amendment to the False Creek/Expo Lands agreement, which
    has a total square footage cap (11Msf?) and a maximum number of units cap (?) and
    various conditions and cost waivers? If so, should this be discussed as part of a
    separate public process?
  • The Report states there is a $350 million capital budget plus design budget. Are the
    developers who benefit paying part of this, and through what mechanism (CACs?), or ispublic money paying for the viaduct removal and new infrastructure?


  • Hogan’s Alley Memorial
  • Ice rink, community space and daycare at Plaza of Nations

More specific concerns:

  • 3 proposed buildings in the plan would violate a city-defined view cone. This violationreflects the current city administration’s obsession with increased density and its lack of
    appreciation for larger, citywide planning issues. This should not be permitted.
  • One of the top priority issues should be the Creekside Park. A proper survey should be done to clarify the actual size of the Park being created through this proposal; does this park area satisfy the Parks Board mandate for park space per number of residents from the original Development Plan for this area? With the large increase in density and unit numbers it doesn’t appear to.
    • The realignment of Carrall Street will result in a Park alignment more north/south under the Skytrain viaduct rather than the originally planned east/west waterfront alignment for a true ‘Creekside’ Park. What it does do is lessen the waterfront park exposure and increase the amount of waterfront for development opportunities. Is that what this is all about?
    • The existing location of Carrall Street helps to provide a soft transition from density to parkland. The rationale that the realignment provides a straight line from water to water, when there is no visual connection at all, is not a very strong reason to justify all the costs involved. Perhaps use some imagination to enhance what’s there already.
  • The removal of the viaducts will free up two plots of city-owned land on Main Street (800 Quebec & 801 Main Street and 898 Main St.) that is adjacent to Chinatown and at Hogan’s Alley (898 Main St.). The majority of this publically owned land, if not all, should be used for what is definitely needed in the neighbourhood: social and affordable housing, not more market condos.
  • This proposal severely curtails vehicular access to Chinatown by closing off a section of Carrall Street and eliminating a turn-off point off Quebec Street. Why move to enhance and revitalize a neighbourhood (Chinatown), then reduce access to it?

The above issues are of concern to the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN). We would also like to register our support for the ideas and comments on this Report from our friends in the Chinatown Action Group, Chinatown Heritage Group, Hogan’s Alley Group and the False Creek Residents Association.
Larry Benge, Co-Chair
Dorothy Barkley, Co-Chair

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