Focal Point: East Fraserlands

I've always been interested in parts of the city that are particular points where change is happening, or where ideas of the current moment are best presented in one spot. Case studies of a kind, you could say.

One such example is the East Fraserlands development, what has been called "the last Vancouver megaproject", since it is one of the few remaining large single undeveloped parcels of land around.

East Fraserlands stands out because it looks to me like a model for future, dense, transit-oriented suburban development - it won honours from the Canadian Institute of Planners, as well as awards from the Canadian Urban Institute, Smart Growth BC and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA).

Some interesting points about the development:

  • It's an old MacMillan-Blodel sawmill site, 129 acres in size.
  • The plan includes homes for about 12,800 residents - which will certainly draw Translink's attention to the area (it is currently underserved)
  • Buildings and site will aim for LEED silver or gold-level standard
  • A pedestrian-scale commercial centre is planned for the center of the site
  • They also mention 'mixed-use light industrial' buildings, and a look at drawings shows some two storey live/work studios and retail buildings that might be what they are talking about.
  • Two schools and a 30,000 sq ft community centre are planned
  • Extensive pathways and public access to the shoreline are planned
  • The site has been cleared, and Phase One was approved by council in September, 2008.
  • Here is the City of Vancouver's web page regarding the development, and the official development plan (pdf) is here.

    I'm still reading over some of these documents, but overall it looks like a very interesting direction. I imagine they'll be delaying it for the time being - it will be interesting to see how they handle .