Downtown Waterfront Working Group

The Downtown Waterfront Working Group has been established to help advance cohesive, collaborative plans for Downtown Vancouver’s Central Waterfront area. Our members include planners, architects, citizens, artists, business owners, heritage advocates and community builders. We are not as a group affiliated with any political party. We are not affiliated with any landowners or property interests.

Vancouver City Council Asks Staff to Get Going on Downtown Waterfront Plan

Councillor Fry and Councillor Dominato proposed a Council Members’ Motion to get waterfront planning back on the work program. It was endorsed unanimously by Mayor and Council on April 26, 2022.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
A. THAT Council re-affirms the intention to embark on planned regeneration
and renewal of the Central Waterfront in collaboration with federal and
provincial levels of government, the three host nations, private and
community sectors;
FURTHER THAT this intention and planning inform future development
proposals for the Central Waterfront District.
B. THAT Council direct staff to re-engage partners, stakeholders, and the
public with the intent to reinvigorate a comprehensive plan for the Central
Waterfront District;
FURTHER THAT Council direct staff to report back with necessary
budget and resourcing to commence a comprehensive planning program
for the Central Waterfront District in the 2023 budget

Motion – Catalysing Planning for the Future of Central Waterfront District – April 26, 2022 (vancouver.ca)

Reimagining the Downtown Waterfront: In December 2021, DWWG  members joined other design professionals including Host Nation representation for a charrette to generate ideas for the future Waterfront. It was an exciting and productive session  with the product of our work captured in this brochure. 

Reimagining brochure

 Cadillac Fairview Office  Tower Proposal

The Vancouver Heritage Commission voted 8-2 against the proposed development on December 7, 2020.  Vancouver Heritage Commission resolutions. 

In 2009, Vancouver City Council endorsed the Central Waterfront Hub Framework which outlined a vision for the Central Downtown waterfront. In 2017, Council endorsed a work program for staff to update the plan and engage the public.

The Hub Framework contains some very exciting ideas such as the re-opening up of Granville Street to the waterfront and multi-use development/public space creation over the railway yards. It also provides the opportunity to plan for transit expansion, such as additional commuter train services and ferries.

Cadillac Fairview decided in 2014 to apply for a Development Permit Application for a 400,000 square foot office tower on a tiny portion of their Waterfront Station site. It was rejected by the Urban Design Panel in January 2015 and Cadillac Fairview decided to withdraw the Development Permit Application.

In May 2018 Cadillac Fairview presented a revised version to the City’s Heritage Commission and Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee. The proposal, similar in size to the previous one, raised the same concerns of being out of scale, a poor fit with the historic precinct and cutting off options for the future planning of the Waterfront Station area.

In February, 2020 Cadillac Fairview again submitted a Development  Permit Application for a building very similar to what they proposed in 2018. It was scheduled to go to the Development Permit Board on March  22, 2021 for a final decision. However after the Vancouver Heritage Commission voted 8 to 2 against the proposal on December 7, 2020, Cadillac Fairview decided to postpone the City’s application review process. In February 2022 the development application was cancelled.

Cadillac Fairview continues to explore options for  an office tower development adjacent to Waterfront Station

We are very concerned that approving a Cadillac Fairview office tower proposal without taking into consideration the wider context will close down options for the future of the waterfront as well as scar the waterfront and the entrance to Gastown with an unsightly, out of scale building.

For more information see Resources page or contact Christina DeMarco  at cdemarco@telus.net

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