Great Northern Way structure planning program

Great Northern Way campus lands structure aerial photo

The City and Great Northern Way Campus Trust has developed a revised structure plan for the campus lands. The revised structure plan guides the long term redevelopment through direction on:

  • A new road network
  • Open space
  • Development parcel configurations

The revised structure plan does not introduce new uses, modify floorspace allowances, or amend building height restrictions.

The Great Northern Way Campus Trust envisions this site as a thriving cultural and artistic district, along with the relocation of Emily Carr University. The plan supports the City's goals to create jobs, attract investment, and revitalize the area in an environmentally sustainable way.

Read about this project in-depth

Progress with this initiative

Development application approved for Emily Carr University

June 1, 2015 – The Development Permit Board approved an application to develop a four-storey school for the Emily Carr University of Art and Design at 520 East 1st Avenue.

Rezoning application approved for Emily Carr University

July 8, 2014 – City Council approved an application to amend the existing CD-1 (402) (Comprehensive Development) District to add an additional 4.6 m (15 feet) to the allowable building height, to accommodate the relocation of Emily Carr University.

Council adopts revised structure plan

February 4, 2014 – Council adopted the revised Structure Plan and CD-1 Guidelines for the Great Northern Way site that recommend a new system of roads, development parcels, and open spaces. The plan and guidelines will help realize the new vision for the site as a creative and artistic district that includes the relocation of Emily Carr University and a future SkyTrain location.

Questionnaire: What do you think of the revised structure plan?

October 2013 – If you are unable to attend the open house on October 23rd, or prefer to provide input in the comfort of your own home, this is your chance. View the information from the open house in the documents tab, and then take a brief online questionnaire to tell us what you think. The questionnaire closes on November 30.

Open house: Revised structure plan

October 2013 – Come to an open house to see a revised structure plan for the future redevelopment of the Great Northern Way Campus Lands. The structure plan establishes a new system of roads, open spaces, and development parcels but does not consider new heights or land uses. It also provides for the future extension of the Millennium SkyTrain line and the relocation of Emily Carr University from Granville Island.

Staff from the City and the Great Northern Way Campus Trust will be there to answer your questions.

Council approved planning program

April 2013 – Council approved a planning program funded by the project proponent for staff to develop a revised structure plan.

Great Northern Way plan details

Location and ownership

Great Northern Way is a 14 acre site in the False Creek Flats between Main Street and Clark Drive. The site is owned by the "Great Northern Way Campus Trust" – UBC, SFU, BCIT, and Emily Carr University.

Topics covered by the plan

The Great Northern Way Campus plan provides parameters for areas such as:

  • A new road network
  • Open space
  • Arrangement of land areas for development 

The revised structure plan does not introduce new uses, modify floorspace allowances, or amend building height restrictions.

Planning process timeline

Spring 2013 – Initial meetings and briefing with the community

April 2013 – City starts comprehensive planning program to create a revised structure plan of roads, land parcels, and open space to guide the long-term redevelopment of the Great Northern Way Campus lands

Summer 2013 – Draft structure plan concepts

Fall 2013 – Public open houses to present initial concepts for feedback

Fall 2013 – Revisions to structure plan concepts based on public input

Early 2014 – Present revised structure plan to Council

Great Northern Way Campus Trust

The Great Northern Way Campus Trust was established in 2001 following the donation of the Great Northern Way campus lands from Finning International, Inc. The Trust is jointly owned by UBC, SFU, BCIT, and Emily Carr University. This group oversees the Centre for Digital Media, offering a Masters of Digital Media accredited by all four schools. The Trust is also spearheading the redevelopment of the Great Northern Campus into a mixed-use, economic, and cultural hub for the creative and digital sectors.

History of the area

The original structure plan for the site was approved as part of a 1999 CD-1 rezoning. The original structure plan was based on the removal of the railyards to the north with the Millennium Line Extension located through the middle of the site. The railyards are now expected to remain in the long term and a modified, more optimal Skytrain alignment along the northern boundary of the site was approved by Council in 2012. A revised structure plan is needed to reflect these changes.