Packed forum applauds call “to make a bold decision to get rid of the Viaducts” to create new vision of city’s core

The packed April 7 forum that considered the future of the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts occurred before Vancouver City Council’s rejection of an expanded casino for BC Place, but the call raised there for a new vision of the city core’s development was right in line with the council vote.

(Thanks to Kurt Heinrich for this video from the forum and a second excerpt of Bing Thom’s comments.)

The forum’s lead presentation by city engineering consultant David Turner confirmed that the Viaducts can be removed with very manageable impacts on city traffic if rapid transit investments are made as planned. That led former city planner Larry Beasley, supported by architect Bing Thom, to call for a “bold decision to get rid of the Viaducts” and have a comprehensive planning process for this section of the city.

That call fits well with council’s unanimous decisions to send the four recent proposals for development around BC Place back for more work. Three were rezonings and one was a package of amendments to the False Creek North Official Development Plan.

Council made it clear it wants options to move up delivery of the Creekside Park extension, intended to occupy the area now dominated by Concord Pacific’s display suites on the north side of False Creek. But final development of the area will have impacts far to the east, especially as the city considers the future of the East False Creek flats and the long-postponed challenge to move traffic to and from the east end of the Viaducts.

The first phase of the Georgia Viaduct study is scheduled to come to council later this spring. A second phase should move well beyond traffic issues to consider these critical areas in the heart of the city.