Vancouver may get a new waterfront park. The more-than-one-hectare green space is part of a multi-building residential development proposed by Concert Properties in Southeast False Creek. It will be called East Park.
For someone who has been battling another major developer over park space, False Creek resident Fern Jeffries is quite pleased with Concert Properties so far.
“We are assuming that the proposed amenities and green space will be delivered on time,” Jeffries told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview.
Jeffries is the cochair of the False Creek Residents Association. Her group has been at odds for some time with Concord Pacific over delays in the delivery of a promised extension to Creekside Park.
“With a growing community, there’s lots of children and families,” she said. “No one is complaining about density; that’s why we live where we live. But it’s important not to turn the city into a concrete jungle.”
She recalled that the Creekside Park extension was part of a deal in which the City of Vancouver agreed to allow Concord Pacific to build 7,650 residential units on the former Expo 86 lands.
Concord Pacific was supposed to provide close to four hectares of new park land. But according to Jeffries, the developer has not come through. “There have now been over 10,000 units built. No park,” she said.
The promised Creekside Park extension was supposed to be on land bordered by False Creek on the south, the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts on the north, Creekside Park and Science World to the southeast, and the Plaza of Nations on the west.
Last month, Concord Pacific announced its plan for a new development called False Creek Central near B.C. Place. The new neighbourhood will feature eight buildings; 90,000 square feet of commercial, retail, and services space; and at least 1,300 homes.
As for Concert Properties, its project involves five residential buildings. The tallest building will rise 18 storeys. Two buildings will have 15 storeys, and the others will be 14 storeys and 12 storeys high. According to rezoning documents submitted to city hall, the development will have a mix of market and nonmarket housing. It will also feature bikeways and walkways.
One of the buildings will be dedicated to nonmarket rentals. Its ownership will be transferred to the City of Vancouver. Based on preliminary designs, this building will provide 137 units.
In a meeting last month, the urban-design panel, which advises the city on development proposals and policies, expressed support for the project.
The 2.6-hectare development site is on the northwest corner of Quebec Street and East 1st Avenue. To the north is the seawall walkway, and Ontario Street is on the west side. It is currently a vacant paved lot.
The property is adjacent to the Olympic Village, which is at the heart of Southeast False Creek. Based on the city’s projections, Southeast False Creek will be home to 12,000 to 16,000 people by 2020. It will have six million square feet of development, which includes 5,000 residential units. The mixed-use community is also projected to have 10 hectares of park land.
The proposed East Park will be located across the water from Science World. That will be a welcome addition to the entire False Creek area, according to Jeffries. She said that the area doesn’t meet the city’s standard of having about 2.75 acres of green space per 1,000 people.
According to documents, the park’s features will include a plaza, a children’s play area, and an orchard.
Jeffries said there has been some preliminary discussion about other potential amenities in connection with the Concert Properties project. These include an enclosed off-leash area for dogs. “There are ongoing conflicts between off-leash dogs and children in the community,” she noted.
She added that Concert Properties recently presented its proposal at a meeting that had community members in attendance. Jeffries isn’t complaining, saying, “They’ve been very good neighbours so far.”