Agenda Index City of Vancouver



Standing Committee on Planning and Environment


Director of City Plans, in consultation with the General Manager of Engineering Services, the General Manager of Parks and Recreation and the Director of Legal Services


Grandview Boundary Industrial Area Plan and Rezoning & Development Policies and Guidelines





The Livable Region Strategic Plan and Transportation 2021 call for a jobs/housing balance in the City and the location of employment centres close to transit.

In 1990, Council adopted the Still Creek CD-1 Guidelines to protect and enhance Still Creek.

In June,1995, Council adopted CityPlan which provides for the development and reinforcing of neighbourhood centres; directs major office development to the downtown and Central Broadway; provides for a diverse economy; and jobs close to home.

In March, 1995, Council approved the Industrial Lands Strategy which seeks to retain most of the City's existing industrial land base for a variety of industrial and city-serving activities. The strategy identified the Grandview Highway and Marine Drive frontages for highway-oriented retail uses which are not appropriately located downtown or in neighbourhood centres.

In November, 1996, Council approved a new district zoning schedule (I-2) as an implementation measure for the Industrial Lands Strategy to better accommodate the needs of contemporary industry and to ensure compatibility of industrial areas with adjoining residential areas.

On April 13, 1999, Council approved the I-3 High Technology District Schedule.

On July 22, 1999, Council adopted the Grandview Boundary interim I-3, HOR and I-2/I-3 Educational, Institutional, Cultural, and Recreational Uses Policies and Guidelines.

On February 1, 2000, Council adopted Public Enhancement Plans for the Rupert and Renfrew Skytrain Stations.


This report summarizes recent area planning work in the Grandview Boundary Industrial Area (GBIA), and seeks Council's adoption of an Area Plan and Rezoning and Development Policies and Guidelines. Adoption of a DCL by-law and the endorsement of an enhancement program for Still Creek are topics of separate companion reports. The proposed Plan and Guidelines completes the comprehensive planning work for the GBIA and permits previous interim policies and the existing Still Creek CD-1 Guidelines to be rescinded.

Directions in the proposed Plan and Guidelines are not a significant departure from the interim policies and guidelines. The GBIA will remain an industrial area that accommodates a variety of uses and activities. These include Highway Oriented Retail (HOR) on Grandview Highway, and a transition to new industrial uses such as film studios and high-tech industrial office buildings like the Broadway Tech Centre, focused near the SkyTrain stations. With more worker intensive industries, employee population is anticipated to increase from roughly 4000 today up to 14,000. The new SkyTrain stations are anticipated to become centres of pedestrian activity with small shops and other services for transit users and area workers. The Central Valley Greenway will be constructed adjacent the Skytrain Guideway and eventually provide a link for pedestrians and cyclists from Burnaby Lake to False Creek. As the area's only natural amenity, Still Creek will be enhanced to provide green space for workers, a continuous pedestrian pathway and improvements to Creek hydrology and ecology as described in the companion report. The GBIA's transition may take 20 or more years, allowing owners and operators time to plan for the area's future.


Recent Area Planning History

Shortly after the Province announced Skytrain in 1998, the potential for high technology I-3 "campus-type" development was recognized for both the GBIA and the West False Creek Flats. In 1999, Council approved the new I-3 High-tech District Schedule, rezoned the old Eaton's warehouse site and adopted the interim I-3, HOR and I-2/I-3 Educational, Institutional, Cultural, and Recreational Uses Policies and Guidelines. In February 2000, Public Enhancement Plans for the Rupert and Renfrew Skytrain Stations were adopted. Collectively, these actions allowed Skytrain Station and early I-3 development to occur pending staff's review and report back on infrastructure and amenity requirements, a DCL by-law, Still Creek rehabilitation, detailed land-use directions and a comprehensive plan to guide the area's transition.

Grandview Boundary Industrial Area Context

The GBIA, illustrated in Figure 1, is bounded generally by Grandview Highway, Boundary Road, Broadway/Lougheed, and Slocan Street. The area represents about 12% of the City's industrial land base. The area's size (81 hectares/200 acres) and its strategic location near regional transportation corridors make the Grandview Highway Industrial area an important component of Vancouver's Industrial Lands Strategy. Still Creek, the last creek in the built-up portion of Vancouver, is the area's only natural feature offering an opportunity to provide employee recreational space and improved stormwater management. The areas to the north and south are comprised mainly of single-family dwellings. Vancouver Technical Secondary School is located to the west. Other nearby facilities include the Italian Cultural Centre and Thunderbird School and Community Centre.


Zoning and Existing Uses
Most of the study area is currently zoned I-2 (light industrial), which allows for a range of industrial uses as well as ancillary retail and office uses. The Still Creek CD-1 is generally consistent with the I-2 District Schedule with added conditions to protect Still Creek. Other Highway Oriented Retail uses like the Revy store and the Real Canadian Superstore have site-specific CD-1 zoning. There are small pockets of C-1 zoned local commercial uses located at the intersections of Broadway/Lougheed and Grandview Highway with Rupert and Renfrew streets. While warehousing uses such as the Liquor Control Board, predominate, other major uses include Paramount Film Studios, the Vancouver Film Studios, CAE Machinery, and the first phase of the Broadway Tech Centre on the old Eaton's warehouse site.

The interim planning work left key issues to be resolved as part of developing a comprehensive plan for the area. The recommended directions on these outstanding issues are summarized below.

1. Land Use
Location of I-3 High-Tech rezonings
To promote Skytrain use and develop the station areas into active people places, uses with higher worker concentrations (typically I-3) are limited to areas within a comfortable walking distance to the stations. Once road and greenway connections proposed in the area plan occur, only the north-east portion of the area would be longer than a 10 minute walk to a Skytrain station. The plan proposes that this area be reserved for I-2 uses and that I-3 rezonings be considered in the remainder of the area as shown in Figure 2.


HOR Uses

The Grandview Highway and S.E. Marine Drive frontages were identified by Council in 1995 as locations for highway-oriented retail as well as entertainment, educational, institutional, and recreational uses. Further work was to occur to develop a HOR schedule and to test the interim guidelines.

Staff have concluded that owner-initiated site specific rezonings provide adequate control over site and building design issues and that approach works well. There is now an almost continuous retail frontage between Slocan and Boundary Road and staff recommend against developing an HOR schedule. The interim HOR guidelines are working well and only minor changes have been incorporated into the design sections of the HOR guidelines. The density limit (0.6 FSR), height [12.2 m (40 ft.)] and minimum store size [929 m² (10,000 sq. ft.)] are unchanged.

Station Serving Retail
Staff examined possibilities for enlivening the station areas and attracting local convenience shops and services to cater to the workforce and transit users and add pedestrian activity. In order to encourage these uses to locate here sooner, City-initiated rezoning of some key sites was examined. However, none of the City's current zoning schedules would fit given that current industrial uses would also need to be accommodated. Therefore directions on allowable uses and design are provided in the Guidelines to guide CD-1 rezonings on these sites.
Recreational, Educational, and Institutional Uses
Recreational, educational, cultural and institutional uses are conditionally permitted now in the I-2 and I-3 zones. While these uses are difficult to locate in neighbourhoods and would benefit from the GBIA location on arterials, and near transit, they can displace industrial uses and increase the value of industrial land. However, recreational facilities such as public fitness centres that could serve the worker population will be considered in existing buildings on arterials, and educational uses that are directly related to high-tech industry would be considered in the I-3 areas. The policy of restricting other non-industrial uses to Grandview Highway would continue.

I-3 Schedule Amendments
As part of the next phase of work in the False Creek Flats, staff have brought forward an amendment to the I-3 Schedule to reduce the outright approval density to 1.0 FSR from 3.0 FSR. If approved at Public Hearing, I-3 developments will still be able to achieve up to 3.0 FSR but projects with densities above 1.0 FSR will be subject to design review. In the GBIA, this will provide more control over design and achieving the public realm improvements envisioned in the Plan.

2. Transportation, Circulation and Parking
A transportation consultant examined the ability of area roads to accommodate increased traffic from 2 scenarios - a moderate growth, anticipating 1.7 million sq. ft. of additional high-tech industrial uses and another scenario anticipating 3.9 million sq. ft.. Both scenarios also included some growth in HOR and typical I-2 industrial uses. Based on the more likely lower growth scenario, the following road changes (illustrated in Figure 3) are recommended:
· A new road to link Cornett Road to Rupert Street along the Still Creek alignment to provide another access point and a key missing pedestrian link to the Rupert Skytrain Station.
· Construction of a landscaped centre median along Grandview Highway with right-in/right out movements only, and various right-turn only lanes at major intersections.
· Relocation of 1 block of 12th Avenue in front of Revy when that site redevelops. This change would not be necessary to accommodate increased traffic but would align this block with the block to the east and help create a public space.
· A new road link north along Skeena to Broadway may be required in the distant future to relieve congestion at Grandview Highway. Because it is a longer-term proposal at this time, it has not been costed.


These road works will be considered as part of city-wide priorities over the next 20 years. The costs for the Cornett Connector are estimated at approximately $2.1 million and funding would be shared between GBIA DCLs, future capital plan budgets and rezoning conditions if any of the adjacent sites are rezoned. Funding for the remaining work would also come from capital plan budgets, rezoning conditions and City-wide DCLs.
A key element of the area traffic plan is to encourage transit, cycling and walking to and within the GBIA. The following is proposed:
· Require that missing sidewalks be constructed at the time of redevelopment and, where a key link is missing, construct it ahead of redevelopment.
· In addition to the Central Valley Greenway/Bikeway, under the Skytrain guideway, consider the two alternate routes through the area for the Eastside Crosscut Greenway, and complete the Still Creek Greenway as part of the Still Creek enhancement plan as shown in Figure 4.
· Provide new lighting standards and more prominent crosswalks at key intersections to increase pedestrian amenity and help develop an area identity.

·Monitor worker vehicle use and parking demand after Skytrain opens and adjust parking supply to encourage alternatives to private vehicles, reduce pavement and maximize landscaping on redevelopment sites. Larger-scale developments would be expected to produce and adhere to Transportation Demand Management Plans.
Funding for this work would come from the City's Greenways budget, developer contributions, provincial Skytrain amenity funds for the Central Valley Greenway, future capital plans, and GBIA and city-wide DCLS.


3. Area Character, Streetscape and Public Space
When GBIA developed in the 1950s, truck and rail traffic predominated, there were few workers and little need to accommodate pedestrians. The future GBIA will include two Skytrain stations and thousands of desk-based employees. Outdoor space for recreation will be much more important. Key proposals include:
· A street tree plan to help green the area, add pedestrian amenity and create a cohesive identity.
· New development on larger sites will include small public spaces on corners or adjacent greenways like those provided by the Bentall development on Renfrew Street, to provide both visual and functional amenities for their employees and the public.
· Still Creek enhancement projects will include recreational space wherever possible. This will include completion of the Still Creek Greenway, public spaces around the proposed retention ponds/wetlands and enhancement of existing green spaces adjacent the Creek.
· Landscaped setbacks of 12.1 m will be required on the west side of Boundary Road to be consistent with required landscape setbacks along Boundary Road to the north and south. Landscaped setbacks of 3.6 m will be required for properties abutting the Central Valley Greenway (properties fronting on Broadway/Lougheed will have their 12.1 m landscape setback reduced by 3.6 m to compensate). The remainder of the area will have landscape setbacks of 3.6 m.
· Designed improvements at key intersections will include special lamp standards, stamped concrete crosswalks, and scored concrete sidewalks with exposed aggregate banding. The Grandview Highway and Skeena intersection improvements recently approved by Council, will be constructed this fall to incorporate these enhanced standards.
Funding for this work would come from a variety of sources including GBIA and city-wide DCLs, the Still Creek Enhancement Fund, the Park Board Street Tree Infill Program and future capital plans.

4. Still Creek Enhancement
A consultant reviewed enhancement options for Still Creek. In addition to the short-term improvements and long-term strategies to daylight and construct stormwater retention wetlands that the consultant's Study recommends, the GBIA Rezoning Policies and Guidelines now include guidelines for Still Creek which request simple techniques to reduce stormwater run-off such as using stormwater swales (planted ditches which help to filter and infiltrate water) bordering parking areas. More complex solutions such as greenroofs would be encouraged but would need to await more detailed analysis of costs and benefits. In addition, development will need to setback 5.0 metres from the Creek (currently 3.0 metres) and development adjacent the Creek will need to raise their grade above the 200 year flood level (generally 0.5 to 1.0 m higher). Because Still Creek enhancement is an integral part of the redevelopment of the GBIA, the Still Creek Guidelines have been amended and incorporated into the new GBIA Policies and Guidelines. A companion report summarizes the recommendations of the Still Creek Study.

5. Financing the GBIA Area Plan
The GBIA is a large area requiring extensive service upgrades to convert the area to a mixed high-tech industrial area. Staff have costed improvements eligible for DCL funding at approximately $10 million. This would include underground service upgrades, new roads, and enhancements to area amenities to serve the expanded worker population. While $2.5 million is also included for daycare, the City's Childcare Coordinator concurs that it is not practical to allocate funding given the anticipated level of DCL recoveries.

Another $2.5 million is for new roads that will only occur when development in the area warrants it and provides the opportunity to acquire necessary land. The remaining $5.0 million is mostly for underground service improvements that will be triggered by I-3 development. Therefore, most upgrading can await redevelopment. A companion report discusses estimated DCL recoveries and related issues. Future capital plans and the Still Creek Enhancement Fund are also funding sources, and rezonings will deliver on-site and adjacent off-site engineering services (e.g. sewer, water, roads, transportation measures) consistent with normal City practice.

Landowner Response
An open house and meeting was held on February 28, 2002 to receive responses to the GBIA Plan and Guidelines. Invitations were sent to 177 landowners and tenants, and the event was attended by 7 landowners. Comments and questions were generally positive. There were questions about the timing of the Cornett - Rupert connector and how the right-of-way would be acquired. Staff explained that this is a long-term project and land acquisition and construction could only occur when the affected sites redeveloped, and if other new development in the area warranted the road. There were concerns that the Central Valley Greenway would cause security issues for owners that back onto the Greenway. Safety and security issues are being considered in the design of the Greenway and will require monitoring after construction. There were also concerns that a new crosswalk for Rupert Skytrain station users should have been constructed as an overheadwalkway because of vehicle speed southbound on Rupert Street. Again, safety issues were considered in the design of the crosswalk and monitoring will occur once Skytrain has opened.


The Grandview Boundary Industrial Area Plan and Guidelines incorporates work to review underground services, roads, amenity and recreational needs and other land use questions remaining from interim work in 1999. This and 2 companion reports on Still Creek enhancement, and the GBIA DCL By-law, discuss and make recommendations on these outstanding issues. Council adoption of the recommendations in these reports will set directions and initiate actions to ensure roads, underground services and worker amenities are in place to facilitate a transition to a mix of high-tech industrial, light industrial and HOR uses, and the enhancement of Still Creek.

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1. Amend Schedule C "Streets Requiring Landscaped Setbacks" of the Zoning and Development By-law by deleting the following:

Street, Lane or Other Area Depth of

Broadway and Lougheed Highway, from Slocan Street to Boundary Road 12.1 m

2. Amend Schedule C "Streets Requiring Landscaped Setbacks" of the Zoning and Development By-law by adding the following:

Boundary Road, west side, from Lougheed Highway to Grandview Highway 12.1 m

Central Valley Greenway, north side, from Lillooet Street to Boundary Road 3.6 m

Broadway and Lougheed Highway, south side, from Lillooet Street to Boundary Road 8.5 m

Broadway and Lougheed Highway, south side, from Slocan Street to Lillooet Street 12.1 m

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