Agenda Index City of Vancouver


TO: Vancouver City Council
FROM: General Manager of Engineering Services
SUBJECT: Dedicated Fire Protection; South Shore Routing


A. THAT Council endorse Cypress Street from Whyte Avenue to West 11th Avenue as a DFPS pipeline route, with construction following completion of the False Creek crossing.

B. THAT Council endorse West 6th Avenue from Cypress Street to Macdonald Street as a DFPS pipeline route.

C. THAT Council endorse West 11th Avenue from Cypress Street to Oak Street as a DFPS pipeline route.


Council approved the Dedicated Fire Protection System for implementation on April 16, 1992.

Council adopted a revised scope of work for the Dedicated Fire Protection System on March 12, 1998. The adopted scope included the False Creek crossing, Kitsilano and Fairview Slopes expansion of the system, and deferral of the Kits Point Pump Station.


This report requests that Council adopt the following as DFPS pipeline routes:

Cypress Street from Whyte Avenue to West 11th Avenue.
West 6th Avenue from Cypress Street to Macdonald Street.
West 11th Avenue from Cypress Street to Oak Street.


Design and construction of the Dedicated Fire Protection System (DFPS) began in 1990. To date, two pump stations and 5.7 kilometres of pipeline have been completed, covering the downtown core (Figure 1).

As approved by City Council, the next phase of the project will expand the DFPS into the Kitsilano and Fairview Slopes areas of the City.

The water distribution system in Kitsilano was designed and installed in the early 1900's. Densification of the Kitsilano region and ever increasing safety standards in the later half of the 20th Century have increased the fire demand in this area beyond the capacity of the aging system. Winds contribute to the need for a high level of fire fighting protection in Kitsilano, as the wind can promote the spread of fire. The DFPS will defer more expensive improvements to the water distribution system otherwise required for fire protection in Kitsilano.

The Fairview Slopes extension of the DFPS is intended to cover another densely developed region of the City and to protect Vancouver Hospital, the primary emergency care facility for the province.

To connect the downtown system with the south shore of False Creek, an underwater crossing of False Creek is proposed between Sunset Beach and Vanier Park. Engineering Services has completed the design of the proposed crossing and installation is scheduled for ths winter.

The proposed pipeline crossing will be connected to the downtown DFPS via Bute Street, Beach Avenue and Sunset Beach.

The south shore coverage area was approved by Council in 1998. The following recommends a pipeline route that will service the approved coverage area.

South Shore Route

For the purpose of pipeline route selection, the South Shore extension of the DFPS has been divided into three segments:

1. South from Vanier Park
2. West to Macdonald Street
3. East to Oak Street

During the evaluation of possible pipeline routes, the following issues were explored:

I. System coverage
II. Pipeline constructability (utility conflicts, street trees, etc.)
III. Neighbourhood issues
IV. Future LRT construction
V. Traffic during construction
VI. Traffic issues during DFPS operation
VII. Economics
VIII. Fire Department access
IX. Seismic reliability

The technical merits of each route were investigated by Engineering Services and presented to the public through an Open House on November 15, 2000. Community leaders were invited to the Open House through the mail and the public at large was invited through print ads in community news papers. Though attendance at the open house was disappointing, all attendees were in favour of the DFPS program and had no issues concerning the pipeline route recommended in this report.

South From Vanier Park

The False Creek Crossing will connect the south shore of False Creek to the two DFPS pump stations through the downtown pipelines. The False Creek Crossing runs from Sunset Beach to Vanier Park. The pipeline that runs south from Vanier Park will link the proposed pipelines on West 6th Avenue and West 11th Avenue to the False Creek Crossing. Three streets were investigated as possible pipeline routes from Vanier Park southward:

A. Burrard Street
B. Cypress Street
C. Maple Street

The investigation was limited to these three streets due to the location of the False Creek Crossing and economic considerations. Critical issues in the evaluation of a pipeline route south of Vanier Park were traffic and economics. Neighbourhood comment was encouraged, however, feedback has been limited.

Engineering Services recommends Cypress Street as the pipeline route south of Vanier Park. Cypress is the only continuous right of way from Whyte Avenue to West 11th Avenue, which is preferred from economic and seismic reliability perspectives. Additionally, a linear route simplifies the Fire Department's task of locating DFPS hydrants during an emergency. Cypress is a busy bicycle route, so detours for bicycleswould have to be maintained during DFPS construction. Note that bicycle route improvements, currently on hold pending DFPS construction, can be constructed as part of the DFPS surface repair program.

A Cypress route will require replacement of 450 m of distribution watermain. Fortunately, this watermain was scheduled for replacement during this decade due to it's material properties and location. The $200,000 cost of the distribution watermain replacement will be borne by the Aging Infrastructure Replacement budget.

Burrard Street is a major arterial street that provides access to the Burrard Bridge. Pipeline construction on Burrard would require the closure of three traffic lanes. It is estimated that the remaining lanes could handle 75% of the traffic load (counted in 1998). Therefore, Burrard Street could accommodate DFPS construction, but not without creating some traffic issues on the Burrard Bridge during construction.

There is no direct route through Vanier Park to Burrard Street, so Chestnut Street would be used from Whyte Avenue to Cornwall Avenue. A Burrard route would be marginally longer than a Cypress route and is estimated to have a similar cost. Burrard Street was recently repaved and it is not desirable to damage the new surface with DFPS construction.

Maple Street has a high level of utility congestion and would require some utility relocation, at an estimated cost of $400,000. A Maple street route would be 530 m longer than a Cypress route, at an additional construction cost of $1,000,000.

Construction of the pipeline south from Vanier Park is scheduled to begin in April of 2001.

East To Oak Street

Streets from West Broadway to West 14th Avenue were considered as potential routes for the pipeline east to Oak Street. Roadways outside of this do not provide planned system coverage. Critical issues for this segment included traffic patterns, traffic disruption during a DFPS deployment, future LRT construction, and proximity to Vancouver Hospital.

Engineering Services recommends West 11th Avenue as the pipeline route east to Oak Street. A West 11th Avenue route has the best combination of coverage and operational impacts with limited disruption of major arterial roadways during construction. Some residents have expressed concern about construction impacts, however, they have requested that minor traffic calming measures be constructed as part of the street restoration, which could be accommodated by the project budget.

West Broadway and West 12th Avenue are both arterial streets. Pipeline construction on these streets would be unnecessarily disruptive to traffic. West Broadway is predominantly a commercial street and DFPS construction could create some economic problems for the local businesses.

The 5 inch diameter hose that is used to create the portable distribution system can not be crossed by regular automobiles without special ramps, and even with ramps, traffic is disrupted considerably. Locating the pipeline on West 13th Avenue or West 14th Avenue would impede traffic on 2 major arterial routes during deployments north of West Broadway with no benefit over a West 11th Avenue route.

Engineering Services proposes constructing the eastern extension of the south shore DFPS following construction of the southern leg. The start date is estimated to be in July 2001.

West To Macdonald Street

Streets from West 6th Avenue to West 13th Avenue were considered as potential routes for the pipeline west of Vanier Park. Roadways outside of this area do not provide planned system coverage. Critical issues for this segment were traffic during construction, system coverage, Fire Department access, pipeline constructability, and future LRT construction. Neighbourhood input was solicited, but no concerns have been raised by the community at this time.

Engineering Services recommends West 6th Avenue as the pipeline route west to Macdonald Street. West 6th Avenue has the best combination of coverage, access and constructability with limited long term disruption of major traffic corridors.

West Broadway and West 12th Avenue are both arterial streets and should be avoided, given that other streets are available. Also, West Broadway is a busy commercial corridor that would suffer economic stress during the construction phase, if West Broadway were chosen as a pipeline route.

West 7th, 8th, 10th and 11th Avenues were not chosen due to various right of way issues, including congested utility corridors and right of way discontinuity.

West 13th Avenue has a less desirable system coverage area with no obvious benefits over a West 6th pipeline route.

Engineering Services proposes constructing the west leg of the south shore DFPS in the 2003 to 2006 Capital Plan.


Engineering Services has conducted one open house concerning the South Shore Expansion to date. Future work with the public will include:

signage explaining what the DFPS is and how it benefits the community
written notification of construction and schedule prior to neighbourhood disruption
additional open houses
web page with DFPS information and schedule update.

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