Vancouver candidates tackle future of viaducts, Grandview-Woodland at multiparty forum

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      A contentious community plan for Grandview-Woodland and the future of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts were some of the topics of questions posed by residents at a multiparty candidates meeting Wednesday (October 15).

      The pre-election event, which was hosted by the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods, drew more than 300 people to St. James Hall for a discussion focused on community planning.

      On the subject of the potential removal of the viaducts, Green council incumbent Adriane Carr said she wants to know “who is paying for the removal of the viaducts, and who is gaining from the removal of the viaducts."

      Vision Vancouver councillor Andrea Reimer said she has concerns about the traffic impacts on the region if the viaducts are removed.

      “It’s a long-standing issue that you’ve got the highway on the east side of Vancouver, and then downtown, and that all of the communities between the highway and downtown Vancouver have…challenges with traffic trying to find a faster way through their neighbourhoods,” she said in an interview.

      “My concern from day one, and articulated in council, is that before a decision is made on removal, for me to be supportive I would need to know that those traffic issues have been resolved.”

      Many of the candidates at the meeting were critical of the city’s approach to an area plan for Grandview-Woodland. A proposal for towers clustered near the Commercial and Broadway intersection was scrapped following community outcry, and city council opted to extend the planning process and establish a citizens’ assembly.

      NPA mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe called the assembly “the equivalent of punting the ball down the field”, while OneCity council candidate RJ Aquino described it as another level of theatre.

      “It was a plan that was repelled by the community, and then an extremely inauthentic, faux consultation process was put in place,” said LaPointe.

      During his remarks at the event, Aquino revealed some of his party’s proposals, including the establishment of democratically elected and funded neighbourhood councils to conduct community consultations, and a ward system with councillors representing neighbourhoods.

      He noted that he lives in a one-bedroom apartment in East Vancouver with his wife and two children.

      “There’s a lot of young families in my neighbourhood that are leaving the city because it’s so unaffordable,” he said.

      In addition to Carr, Reimer, LaPointe, and Aquino, the panel of candidates also featured the NPA’s Melissa De Genova, Green council candidate Cleta Brown, Nicholas and Glen Chernen from the Cedar Party, COPE mayoral candidate Meena Wong and council candidate Lisa Barrett, and independent mayoral candidate Bob Kasting.




      Oct 16, 2014 at 5:35pm

      If the viaducts are removed, get ready for 40.000 cars a day passing through Yaletown. As for who benefits the most from the viaduct removal - that'd be the people who own Rogers arena, the Canucks, and the people who have already started building a condo tower UNDERNEATH the Georgia viaduct - probably because they already know the current mayor will bow down to all developers.
      Say no to the Aquilini's - save the viaducts!!!

      Save Vancouver

      Oct 17, 2014 at 8:39am

      Concord Pacific also benefits. Might explain why Vision has allowed them to drag out the construction of a required park for the area.


      Oct 17, 2014 at 10:36am

      @Save Vancouver

      You have a point there. As soon as Vision members got all excited about tearing down the viaducts I knew that any plan they drew up would be altered, at the last minut,e to include at least two more towers and they would be built on the alleged parkland. There is no way that Vision is going to allow that much prime real estate to be used for a park. If you want to see what they probably have planned just look at the Olympic village green space. That will be their model.


      Oct 17, 2014 at 12:18pm

      someone who understands the workings of building permits etc. should see what the plans are for the building the Aquilini's are building underneath the Georgia St. viaduct. If the plans already call for building the tower where the viaducts are then it would be easy to see that the mayor and his cronies have already decided to tear down the viaducts. And of course they HAVE already made that decision. The only thing left is another of Mayor Moonbeam's so-called community consultations.


      Oct 17, 2014 at 1:21pm

      Anyone thinking that Vision has backed down on the towers clustered near the Commercial and Broadway intersection don't understand how Vision works. If reelected the kangaroo Citizen's Assembly (stacked with Vision supporters) will meet a few times and deem the towers deeply desired by the community and sustainable. A small feature will be added as a community benefit. The architect will move a few things around to claim that changes have been made in response to community wishes. There will be a rezoning meeting (held with two hours notice in the middle of the night), when Vision will unanimously rubber stamp the project. The small community feature will then silently disappear (like the artist studios in the Rize or the Qmunity center in the WE). Street trees on nearby streets will suddenly be chopped down to enhance visibility of the developer's enormous sales billboard. The completed building will be mysteriously several stories taller than expected. Units will be put on the market overseas, sold to investors, then remain empty. After a few years, due to poor quality construction and lack of maintenance, the windows will start falling off and hurt people. The street level retail spaces (too expensive for any businesses to rent) will remain empty. But they will eventually used as a sales offices for the Phase 2 towers announced next door, when the whole process starts again.

      On the other hand we could just remove Vision from power in November.


      Oct 19, 2014 at 10:04am

      I'll vote for anyone who promises to rip out the viaducts. It's a useless freeway appendage that never got connected to anything. Such a waste of space.