City Informer: Why Is Prime Waterfront Property Being Used as a Parking Lot?

How come the VPD’s parking lot has the best view in the city?

Judging what is and is not an appropriate use of waterfront property is Vancouver’s Official Civic Sport. (Bad: condos for other people! Good: condos that I personally live in!) So I’m certain you’ve also noticed the waste of valuable land just southeast of the Cambie Street Bridge. There’s False Creek, then there’s a sliver of seawall, and then there’s the heartwarming sight of row upon row of cop cars, just soaking in the majestic vistas of the glittering downtown skyline.

There are a lot of good arguments for defunding the police in the mix already, from people much smarter than me, but I thought I’d throw one more on the pile—one that I think is really going to sway over the Blue Lives Matter crowd: how come the VPD’s parking lot has the best view in the city? Booo! BOOO!!

No offence to Lightning McQueen and Pixar’s worst trilogy, but I personally feel like that vista should be enjoyed by people, not cars. (That being said, I admit I don’t know much about cars. Do they thrive with daylight? Like how plants grow faster when they listen to music? Is it vehicular cruelty to keep my Hyundai Accent parked underground where it can’t see the light of day?)

Credit: Byron Eggenswiler

I guess it doesn’t really matter what I think, or feel, or if this idea about cars and light could be a winning science fair experiment if the judges would just loosen up and let a 33-year-old woman participate for once, because, ultimately, this upscale parking spot is a placeholder. This is not the city’s end game for that space. They’ve got a whole vision, outlined in the Southeast False Creek Official Development Plan, with parks and houses and everything! And they’re going to get to it! Eventually! Just chill! You’re not my mom!

Was this plan first introduced in 2004? Sure. But we’ve all procrastinated. (For example, on writing a column about under-bridge zoning!) So who are we to judge?! The important thing is, the City has a dream, and that’s the first step. (“If you can dream it, you can achieve it”—a wall poster.)

Think of the SFCODP as a vision board, and the City as your college roommate who thinks that cutting and pasting a bunch of stuff out of the pages of Cosmo is all it will take to get Leonardo DiCaprio to marry her. (In this metaphor, “marrying Leonardo DiCaprio” is the equivalent of building an elementary school for the children of Olympic Village.)

Yes, there are some important details to hash out, like rezoning the land from its industrial status and finding somewhere else for the police to park, but we just need to trust that it’s going to happen. And if The Secret is true, then soon we’ll see a thriving waterfront park here—with ye ole Sawtooth machine shop and Wilkinson Steel building being preserved for historic, um, history—complemented by stacked townhouses and low-rise apartment buildings that look out over False Creek. We’ll even have a beautiful park, perfect for my roommate’s wedding to Leo (details pending). I think another 17 years of dreaming oughta do it.