Posted by: Scott Allan Erdman | June 5, 2011

A New Future for Plaza of Nations

Plaza of Nations - Photo by: Hub☺ - flickr.com/hfiguiere

Next week, the City of Vancouver is hosting three open houses to seek public input on the proposed development of the Plaza of Nations site. Owned by Canadian Metropolitan Properties, this site will be completely transformed in a few years into a high-density mix of condominiums, job space, hotels, retail, restaurants and cafes, marinas, plazas/open space, and the continuation of the much-adored seawall. Two extra-spicy ingredients are also part of CMP’s suggested recipe for the site – a new civic square on the waterfront, and a sports/community centre.

The proposed civic square will be a large public gathering space right on the edge of False Creek with a south-facing orientation to soak up the sun and offer views of the creek. Designed to host events, festivals, and concerts for up to 4,000 people, this space will also be built for the day-to-day use of area residents and visitors who just want a space to relax, grab a bite to eat, or hang out with friends. This plaza has great potential to act as a new space for public celebration and recreation and could become one of Vancouver’s prize jewels on the waterfront.

How would you like to see this space used? What considerations should the developers review when designing this multi-use/flexible plaza?

The proposed sports/community centre, located just west of the civic square, would be a mixed-use centre with an ice rink that would be open to the public when not being used for practice by the Vancouver Canucks. Operated as a unique partnership between the developers and Vancouver Parks Board, the facility would also be home to a sports medical centre, daycare, community recreation space, and restaurants.

There are many points to consider here, such as access, accountability, costing (fees for use), recreational opportunities, and building form. Also, how does the public feel about the potential for corporate naming rights on the centre? This centre, if done well, could become a unique public/private hybrid providing recreational and sports services for a variety of users.

Some other points to ponder when attending this open house:

  • Is the density and massing of buildings appropriate for this site?
  • Are there any shadowing issues for the proposed gathering spaces?
  • Is there enough open space for the number of future residents?
  • How will this development be stitched into the existing neighbourhood and other proposed adjacent projects?
  • Are the suggested public benefits and community amenities satisfactory?

The project is still in the concept stage, but whatever gets built will have a significant impact on Northeast False Creek and other nearby neighbourhoods. Your feedback and suggestions on all of the above are really important. If you’re interested in learning more about the proposal, or would like to share your opinion on the development, be sure to attend one of the following open houses:

Thursday, June 9, 2011, 6:30 – 9:00 p.m., site walking tour 7:30 pm
Saturday, June 11, 2011, 2:00 – 4:30 p.m., site walking tour 3 pm
Meeting Room B, Roundhouse Community Centre
181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver

Sunday, June 12, 2011, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival, Athletes Way, Olympic Village

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