Downtown Waterfront Working Group

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

UBC School of Community and Regional Planning student report on the Downtown waterfront called Dream for a Destination, April 29, 2021

Simon Fraser University Convenes Community Discussion on the Future of the Downtown Waterfront

Part 1 April 15, 2021 and Part 2 April 29, 2021: Recordings can be found here:–n–learn-events.html


The Vancouver Heritage Commission voted 8-2 against the proposed development on December 7, 2020. The  City of Vancouver Development Review Process is temporarily suspended at Cadillac Fairview’s request. Vancouver Heritage Commission resolutions. 

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.

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. City staff are currently working on the plan update and have asked all landowners to postpone their developments until the plan is finished.

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 applied for 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. No new dates have been scheduled.

December 7, 2020 Heritage Commission Review: Result Vancouver Heritage Commission voted  8 to 2 against the office tower.
December 16,  2020: Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
January 20, 2021: Urban Design Panel POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
March 22, 2021: Final review and decision: Development Permit Board POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

We are very concerned that approving the Cadillac Fairview 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

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