False Creek Flats amenity node heritage

False Creek Flats Plan

The False Creek Flats Plan is a long-term vision for the area to become more productive, sustainable, and connected to the rest of our city. 

Created with the help of the Vancouver Economic Commission, community members and stakeholders, the plan recognizes the unique qualities of this neighbourhood and the important economic role it plays in Vancouver. 

The approved plan focuses on: 

  • Increasing employment from 8,000 to at least 30,000 jobs
  • Establishing programs and supports for local businesses and strategic economic sectors
  • Supporting existing businesses, artists, and industry
  • Supporting innovation, creative and digital businesses, health care and life sciences, and food and service industries
  • Creating the right kinds of spaces and infrastructure for business needs
  • Developing interesting and active public places
  • Connecting places, spaces, and surrounding neighbourhoods 
  • Addressing and responding to challenges of climate change and seismic vulnerability

What's happening

The Flats and Reinventing Cities   

A City-owned site in the Flats has been put forward for the C40 Reinventing Cities  competition. Vancouver is part of a group of 19 cities who will be leaders in demonstrating how cities can shape the future by delivering healthier, greener, and economically viable urban developments.

We’re inviting architects, urban planners, designers, developers, entrepreneurs, environmentalists, start-ups, neighbourhood collectives, innovators, and artists to submit ideas that would transform our site into a leading example of sustainable and resilient development that serves the needs of our community. 

Submit an expression of interest 

Expressions of Interest are being accepted until May 31, 2018. 

Project area

The study area boundary is Main Street to the west, Prior and Venables streets to the north, Clark Drive to the east, and Great Northern Way to the south. 

Recent developments

Public Hearing for Amendments to Zoning and Development Bylaw

July 25, 2017 - Referred to Public Hearing on September 19, 2017.

Council approves False Creek Flats Plan

May 17, 2017 - City Council approved the False Creek Flats Plan.

January 2017 open house: draft local area plan for the Flats

In January we presented a summary of the draft plan. Learn more about the draft plan in our open house information displays:

Questionnaire: What do you think about the options for a Prior-Venables replacement?

We asked for your ideas and concerns about the options for replacing the Prior-Venables arterial street in the False Creek Flats PDF file (2 MB) in an online questionnaire from March 31 to April 18. Your responses will help us to shape the future of the False Creek Flats.

March 31 open house: discuss options for a new arterial street in the Flats

We invited you to learn about and discuss the options for replacing the Prior-Venables arterial street in the False Creek Flats PDF file (2 MB). The planning work is part of a strategy to remove conflicts between the street network and rail lines.

Open house and online survey: review the emerging directions

We hosted an open house on February 4, 2016, and an online survey from February 4 to 29, for you to share your thoughts about the emerging directions of the False Creek Flats Plan. Your responses will help develop a framework for the draft plan and economic development strategy that will guide the future of the Flats.

We formed the emerging directions based on reviewing the Phase 1 summary of public input with members from other City departments and the Vancouver Economic Commission. Check back for future open house events.

Summary of what we heard in Phase 1

Our Phase 1 public consultation in spring and summer 2015 included a launch event, six topic workshops, seminars for local businesses, onsite appearances, and online survey. Thank you to all who participated.

On October 8, 2015, we gave a summary presentation of what we heard in Phase 1.

Your feedback and ideas on what we need to address for a successful False Creek Flats Plan, and on potential solutions to area challenges and opportunities, will help frame our planning work on Phase 2 – the emerging directions for the plan.

Read our summary of public input:

False Creek Flats phase 1 summary of public input

Workshops: questions, challenges, and opportunities in the Flats

In June 2015, nearly 200 stakeholders participated in a series of six topic workshops to help our planning team:

  • Identify the big questions that we need to address for a successful plan
  • Brainstorm potential solutions to the challenges and opportunities in the area
  • Frame the conversation in the False Creek Flats planning process

Topics included employment, innovation, transportation, food, arts and culture, and public space.

Your comments were documented and mapped and they'll help frame the issues, challenges, and opportunities we'll explore in the planning process. View the collection of maps and comments below.

Workshop topic Your feedback
Working in the Flats: Inner-city industrial and employment intensification Maps and comments  (4 MB)
A district defined by innovation: Where industry and technology collide Maps and comments  (5 MB)
Moving what matters: Connectivity, transit, and transportation Maps and comments  (2 MB)
Food for thought: Leveraging existing assets to define excellence in a sustainable urban food system Maps and comments  (3 MB)
A thriving cultural district: Arts, culture, and the role of inner-city industrial Maps and comments  (3 MB)
Creating great places: Natural systems, amenities, and the public realm Maps and comments  (3 MB)

Launch event

We launched the False Creek Flats planning process on May 27, 2015, complete with a food truck and Flats-brewed beer. Event guests met neighbours and local businesses, and learned about the area's history, diverse economy, and unique industrial character. Guests also found out how to get involved to help shape the future of the area.

View the information displays from this event  (15 MB)

The area profile walks you through the history of False Creek Flats its ecological significance, the economic role today, the policy framework that guides growth, and the transportation patterns that have defined development to date in the Flats.

Together, this information provided a starting place for dialogue about the future of the False Creek Flats.

Prior to and throughout the False Creek Flats planning process, a public engagement strategy was undertaken to ensure a diversity of voices were represented in the plan.

The planning began in May 2015 and over the two-year period numerous activities, workshops, events, meetings, and surveys were held to invite public participation. Over 4,300 participants were engaged over the duration of the planning process.

Phase 1: Framework and principles

June 2015 workshop maps and feedback

May 2015 launch event

Phase 2: Emerging directions

March 2016 open house: Prior-Venables replacement

February 2016 open house: Emerging directions

Phase 3: Sharing the Draft Plan

January 2017 open house display boards

Our guiding principles for the Flats

  1. Retain and intensify "back of house" industrial functions.
  2. Increase job capacity, with a focus on green jobs and economy.
  3. Ensure that food security and the food economy continue to have a strong presence in the Flats.
  4. Create and foster a unique sense of identity.
  5. Plan for the long-term presence of rail.
  6. Celebrate and enhance arts and culture.
  7. Recognize the historic importance of the area.
  8. Identify opportunities to create new and enhanced public gathering spaces.
  9. Seek creative and temporary uses for underutilized land.
  10. Improve traffic circulation by introducing new streets and connections for people walking and cycling.
  11. Maintain an efficient network of arterial streets essential for goods movement.
  12. Consult the public and all stakeholders in a meaningful way.

Related projects

Work leading up to this plan

Since the late 1980s, a lot of our industrial lands near downtown changed into mixed-use developments with homes, businesses, and amenities. This shift put a lot of pressure on our remaining industrial land, including the False Creek Flats.

Even though our land that prohibits residential uses makes up only 10 per cent of Vancouver's land area, it’s where half of us work. These lands are near transit, rail, roads, and ports, but away from residential areas. This lets businesses run non-stop operations and make noise, light, and odors without affecting people at home.

Since these lands are vital yet vulnerable, we created these studies and policies to balance the need for job space and development. 

Year  Study or policy  Outcomes 

1995 

Industrial Lands Strategy 

  • Identified the Flats as an essential area to preserve for industrial, transportation and service needs

1996 – 1999 

False Creek Flats Preliminary Concept Plan

I-2 and I-3 Industrial Zoning District Schedules and Design Guidelines 

  • Created directions to keep traditional light industry in the eastern Flats, while allowing for high-tech offices near transit and neighbouring communities
  • Divided the Flats industrial lands into two zones (I-2 and I-3 industrial)

2001 

False Creek Flats Structure Plan 

  • Aimed to better connect the area with improved public spaces
  • Assumed freight rail was leaving

2005 

Transportation and rail study 

  • Reaffirmed the importance of rail lands
  • Identified the need to grade-separate road vehicles from rail along the Burrard Inlet Line to the Port

2005

Metro Core Jobs and Economy Land Use Plan

  • Developed a long-term strategy to accommodate future economic needs
  • Created policies to address a shortage of commercial and business land in the face of expected job growth
  • Reconfirmed the Flats as a key area for jobs and economic activity
  • Led to rezoning policy for general office use in the I-3 zone

2011

Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy 

  • Protected key employment lands from residential development
  • Identified and preserved industrial and mixed-employment zones in the region

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Contact the planning team

falsecreekflats
@vancouver.ca