Building upon an initial assessment of the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts, the City developed and analyzed options for removing (or partially removing) the viaducts. The study concluded:
- There are a number of options to modify the viaducts structurally.
- The transportation impacts of modifying the viaducts can be managed.
- Although there is soils contamination in the area, the conditions are manageable.
The viaducts were considered within the wider context of the Eastern Core, the area to the east bounded by Prior and Venables Streets, Clark Drive, Great Northern Way, and Main Street.
Planning of the viaducts lands is on-going. In 2011-12, the City gave the public several opportunities to have a say in the future of viaducts lands:
- At open houses
- In an open ideas competition
- With initial stakeholder outreach
In June 2012, the city hosted three open houses to gather feedback on a proposed concept for the future of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, and surrounding area. The open houses were well attended by over 1,000 residents. Nearly 70% of those who filled out a comment form either supported or strongly supported the concept for the area. Another 25% were opposed or strongly opposed.
re:CONNECT public ideas competition
In September 2011 the City launched a public ideas competition to generate fresh ideas for alternate uses of the viaducts and the Eastern Core. The competition had three areas of focus:
- Connecting the core considered the big picture – a plan for the viaducts and all of the Eastern Core.
- Visualizing the viaducts considered the land currently occupied by the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts.
- Wildcard considered ideas that push the envelope and revolutionize the way people think about the area.
The purpose of the ideas competition was to encourage the public, as well as international urban designers, to think creatively about the future of the viaducts. The best ideas were selected by a panel of experts in architecture, urban design, academia, and sustainability.
Members of the public were encouraged to vote online for a people's choice winner. Staff considered the ideas throughout the planning process.
Initial public outreach
At the outset of the study, planners met with representatives from the surrounding communities to talk about opportunities and constraints for planning in the Eastern Core and viaducts areas. That information, combined with input from the ideas competition, was used to generate principles to guide development of options for the viaducts area.