You might have heard that the industrial area near Vancouver’s core, known as the False Creek Flats, is undergoing a dramatic transformation.
Over the last couple of years, the City of Vancouver has been busy with a planning process aimed at unlocking the untapped potential of the area. To do that, it teamed up with Vancouver Economic Commission, as well as more than 3,600 people who weighed in with their input.
Last week, a much anticipated draft plan was unveiled at an open house.
So, what’s in store? The plan offers a framework for creating a more productive, sustainable and integrated Flats. That includes plans to increase green jobs, support the presence of rail, celebrate arts and culture, create new public gathering places, and much more.
Confused about where The Flats are? The area extends east from Main Street to Clark Drive and south from Prior Street to Great Northern Way. It’s less than a kilometre from downtown Vancouver.
The Flats, by the Numbers
- Comprised of 450+ acres
- It’s home to 500 businesses that span a variety of sectors like logistics, arts and culture, food, software and construction, and that employ 8,000 people
- 63% of Flats is zoned industrial
- 26% is zoned for mixed employment
- The median floor space for businesses is 3,000 sq. ft
What’s the Plan for the Flats?
Today, many people think that the Flats are underused. The plan covers a lot of areas to fix this.
1. Increased land area for jobs
The Flats Plan will increase employment floorspace from 5.4 million sq ft to an estimated 11 million sq ft. through new land use policies.
2. Job growth in new economic sectors
The Flats Plan will increase jobs from 8,000 to + 30,000 (many will come from the new St. Paul’s hospital and Emily Carr University campus.)
3. A new economic development strategy
Vancouver Economic Commission is concurrently releasing an Economic Development Strategy to support new and innovative businesses.
Let’s take a look…
The new St Paul’s Hospital and health campus will be housed on the north-west corner of the False Creek Flats. The goal is for the Flats to become a world-class integrated health care, research and teaching hub.
Some features of the new hospital include single-patient rooms, highly specialized programs and services, new technologies and state-of-the-art spaces, and integrated care.
It will employ more than 2,000 staff, and should open its doors in 2021-2022. The cost for the hospital and health-care facility is estimated at $1.2 billion, and the provincial government has already committed $500 million toward that.
Check out this video of the concept.
As for the current location of St. Paul’s Hospital, that’s likely to be replaced by high-rise condos.
The Emily Carr University of Art + Design is moving from its current digs at Granville Island to Great Northern Way. The new 18-acre campus will accommodate 1,800 students and is expected to be completed this fall. It is being designed to achieve the LEED Gold Certification for sustainable construction.
As for housing, the focus of the plan is on industrial uses for the Flats, but it does plan to bring an additional 3,000 units for those who work and learn in the flats. Student accommodation at the new Emily Carr University of Art and Design will also be explored.
- New and improved local roads
- New and improved walking & cycling connections
- Walk the Line pathway and public amenity nodes
- Local park renewal and improvements
- Childcare facilities to support local job growth
- Green infrastructure (rainwater management, renewable energy, etc.), water and sewer renewal and expansion
- Innovation business spaces & programming to support local economy
- Arts Factory renewal and expansion
- New housing opportunities, including market and non-market rental to serve key groups such as artists, young workers and students
- New East-West arterial
- Central Valley Greenway & Adanac connections
- Service yard expansions (e.g. Fire facilities, Evans Yard and National Yard)
- Renewal of animal service facility
- Millennium Line Broadway Extension
- Downtown steam system fuel switch plant
The area clearly has a lot of untapped potential. Right now, the plan is soliciting feedback from various constituents, with the aim to present it to City Council in the spring.
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