Viaducts review heads to new stage with broad public, stakeholder support

The number that leaped out today from the city staff presentation today on the removal of the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts was this one: citizens who filled out comment sheets at the three heavily-attended open houses last month supported the removal proposal by a three-to-one margin.

The strongly supportive outnumber the strongly opposed by nearly three to one as well.

That’s why it made perfect sense for Mayor Gregor Robertson to spell out the issues he needs clarified to make a decision on the future of the viaducts. As he said at the end of the council session, the city is headed for “a key decision in the fall.”

The next report to council will add to the information already on the table in several key areas:

  • we’ll see timelines for delivery of larger parks and implementation of the Viaduct concept plan, including creation of new traffic flows;
  • neighbouring communities to east — Strathcona, Grandview Woodlands and others — will learn what traffic calming will be implemented and when;
  • council will see the financial costs and benefits estimated along with the council decisions required to change the financial picture;
  • the Eastern Core (False Creek Flats) element of the study will be significantly expanded to fill in gaps on transportation, jobs and more.

Council’s mail box continues to receive thoughtful submissions from individual citizens and key stakeholder groups. The Board of Trade is offering qualified support on the business side; community groups have their questions but are generally supportive as well.

The proposal to remove the Viaducts, and replace them with new road connections and a better city core, is gaining wider acceptance daily.

As city planner Kevin McNaney told council, “people who have spent time [reviewing the proposal] are generally supportive. The more information we can share, the better off we’ll be.”