Views of the North Shore mountains from False Creek and Olympic Village will likely be impacted by the plan to remove the viaducts. (Update: City Council approved it by just 5 votes versus 4 late last night in a special council meeting. Staff have 18 months to come up with a plan for demolition. Realtors and prospective buyers in the area should read carefully below.)
The proposal to take down the viaducts includes a complex land swap deal. Included above are slides from one of the speakers at the October 27, 2015 meeting on the viaducts.The text below covers some of the slide content.
The slides identify several of the most spectacular views from the eastern part of False Creek. These are crucial views that define the character and enjoyment of this area — for both residents and visitors. Are officials at the City of Vancouver using accurate information? Are they giving adequate attention to the protection of these views from eastern False Creek? Also, part of the viaducts removal plan includes changing property boundaries (see images), which would shift the “built out” area (in this case, that’s code for “towers”) further to the east. This action would take away more of the [effective] mountain view.
People also need to understand clearly that there’s a big difference between views and view cones. Views are what real people experience. View cones are visual constructs used by planners. The latter don’t necessarily protect complete views, but they are still important tools still for urban planning. If used correctly and truthfully.
In that respect, “issues” (some people might call them “discrepancies”) have been discovered with City staff work done in 2010 and 2011 on the view cones related to the viaducts. (Some staff photos do NOT match the view cone description or the view cone geometry in VanMap. Are the discrepancies due to sloppy work? Or some other explanation?) This kind of situation is exactly why the City should have an independent expert to do this kind of view analysis. A lot is at stake. People enjoy huge fulfillment from Vancouver’s cherished views. People pay top prices for homes with these views. Realtors sell views. They need to be properly informed and be truthful with prospective buyers. Current and prospective residents of Olympic Village have the right to know in advance the potential view impacts of viaducts removal and view blockage. The thousands of regular users of the seawall should also have the opportunity to know about potential view impacts. A full visual impact assessment of proposed changes in the land assemblies should be done prior to any land swap agreement. And it should be made public.
Also, the entire viaducts removal proposal should be fully costed out. That has not been done yet. Many more crucial issues should be resolved before any respectable policymaker should be able to make a decision on the viaducts removal. What about the changes that could result from the proposed “Malkin Connector” (a possible new viaduct over the railway lands west of Clark Drive)? The impacts on the very popular Cottonwood Garden? Issues related to the Skytrain track that will still dip to grade (and impede movement)? Traffic impacts? The long-promised and long-awaited delivery of Creekside Park? The public might also want to know how much more profit certain select developers will make by moving the property lines to the east.
SELECTED COVERAGE THE DAY AFTER THE VOTE
Vancouver city council votes to tear down viaducts: The Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts are coming down. By Mike Howell, Business in Vancouver, 28-Oct-2015