Northeast False Creek residents are intrigued but cautious about a city rendering for a viaduct-free Northeast False Creek that shows green swathes of park with a realigned Carrall Street running from Burrard Inlet to an “urban beach.”
City council will consider the concept, that sees the slated total of 22.25 acres of park increased to 25.25 acres, at the end of July.
Area residents who’ve long waited for an expanded Creekside Park want to know how long they could wait for the park, how the city proposes to manage disruption to their city streets and how dense major landowner Concord Pacific proposes to build. “We would like to see some sort of a timeline or a sunset clause [that says it has to be done by this date] written into the final report so that there’s more buy-in from the community,” said Patsy McMillan, chair of Citygate Inter-tower Community Group and co-chair of the False Creek Residents Association.
“It’s an interesting plan,” she added while noting other submissions to the viaducts ideas contest included more green space than the concept considered by council.
This concept sees combined Expo and Pacific boulevards with better connections between Andy Livingstone and Creekside parks. A realigned Carrall Street Greenway through Andy Livingstone would provide direct views to the water from Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. The city wants to landscape the park into small areas that could be animated through programming. The skate park under the Georgia Viaduct would likely be relocated near its existing site and the playing fields in Andy Livingstone could be maintained in their current location. Better connections to the creek and the possibility of an urban beach could be explored in the future.
Kevin McNaney, assistant director of planning for the city, said if the concept is approved, staff would recommend council set a time-limited period of about a year for staff to negotiate with landowners that include Concord Pacific, Aquilini and PavCo, and the province to work out soil remediation, park delivery and legal issues.
The viaducts could be removed in a minimum of three years, McNaney said.
Area residents worry more traffic could be funnelled past their doors on Prior Street and past their friends on the other side of Main Street in Strathcona. McNaney said the city continues to look at a Malkin Avenue connection to draw traffic from Strathcona stretch of Prior Street.
Residents question realigning Carrall Street when millions were recently spent to make it a greenway. “The Crosstown Residents Association is totally opposed to [a redesign of Andy Livingston Park], seeing the redesign as an unnecessary expense that will be a serious and needless inconvenience to our residents,” Fern Jeffries, chair of the Crosstown Residents Association and co-chair of the False Creek Residents Association, wrote in an email.
The incremental cost, beyond what is already contemplated in the planning for Northeast False Creek, is an estimated $80 million, not including soil remediation. The city believes the sale of its lands between Quebec Street and Gore Avenue could generate $75 million in revenue but no decisions have been made about how the proposed changes will be funded. The estimated total for park improvements is $13 million.