More Condo’s and Coffee Shops creeping east of Main onto Industrial Lands

Every few years, attention and urban-planning talk turns yet again to the industrial lands known as the Southeast False Creek Flats – the area from Main to Clark, between Prior/Venables and 2nd Avenue.

If this weekend’s Globe & Mail is anything to go by, it looks like ‘every few years’ is just about now.

And ‘just about now’ is when local, industrial businesses such as Recycling Alternative and many of our ‘groovy and gritty’ neighbours located in this area, start to get worried about protecting industrial land (or what’s left of it) against the great urban squeeze.

With 4 acres of the Great Northern Way campus being sold for residential development and artist live work space, it looks like we’ll be getting something Vancouver really needs, more condo’s and coffee shops.

Building condo’s in the Flats has been called a ‘unique and tremendously exciting opportunity ….. for the city to show how a previously industrial-only zone can be revitalized into something more interesting’.

Unique? Exciting? For more of the ‘same –same’ run on condo’s and coffee shops, so ubiquitous throughout almost every neighbourhood in the city.

That’s worrying.

The Southeast False Creek Flats represent the last light industrial land close to the city’s core. Only 2 areas in the city are zoned for industrial use, (Southeast False Creek Flats and South East Marine Drive) where industrial businesses are permitted to operate.

A city the size of Vancouver, is doing itself no favours by stripping out these vibrant, ‘higher than minimum wage’, job rich enclaves, in favour of lofts and lattes.

Smart cities are realizing that light industrial land is an essential part of sustainable and resilient urban planning.

Industrial businesses provide services that are the backbone of the day to day ‘operations’ of a 21st century city (movement of goods, warehousing of goods, wholesaling, manufacturing, recycling).

It’s official, the creep of condo’s and coffee shops has officially crossed Main Street, onto the last slice industrial land close to the port and the city centre. The latest jewel of condo’s called CANVAS is coming to our neighbourhood.

Looks like yet again, Vancouver will be losing a very ‘unique and exciting opportunity’ to lead by example, and do something different for a change, like protecting industrial land use in the centre of a truly green city.


The article referenced can be found here:


Globe & Mail Article: “‘The Flats’ rises from a post-industrial cradle

Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Mar. 14 2014, 5:13 PM EDT