Why Seven Years Later, Georgia’s Overpasses Are Still Standing

Remember when the City of Vancouver voted to demolish the Georgia and Dunsmuir overpasses seven years ago? What’s up with that?

It’s a question that comes up often, given how important the overpasses are to downtown Vancouver – both visually and as transportation infrastructure – but also all the things they promise if they s are collapsing.

The rough plan was to demolish the overpasses and create a new road network for the area. More recently, it’s also about building a real meeting point for the city’s black community — complete with affordable housing in a land trust — in the The Hogan’s Alley area has been relocated for over 50 years due to the construction of viaducts.

Generally speaking, this would be funded by the proceeds of Concord Pacific developing the parking lots at the north end of False Creek which have stood vacant for decades.

But Concord Pacific has not moved forward on any land development applications since council voted to demolish the overpasses. The City of Vancouver does not want to move forward with any part of the plan until it has development funds to pay for the future after the overpass.

And so the paralysis continues, year after year.

We’re talking about it now because of a news report you may have seen earlier this week: Concord Pacific losing a case in the British Columbia Court of Appeal over a messy dispute with the owner of the land adjacent to Place des Nations, in a proposed partnership gone wrong.

Concord Pacific told CBC News they are considering a further appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, but said the ongoing legal battle has nothing to do with their schedule on the rest of the land. But they also said they were “hopeful” that more concrete plans for their site would be shared later this year.

Will these plans be accepted by the city council? Will he create a viable funding model for the establishment of the Hogan’s Alley Land Trust? And if the answer to these questions is no, how much longer will the seismically fragile, asbestos-laden overpasses remain in place, and what is a plan B?

These are big questions with no clear answers.

But again, if there were clear answers, we would not be in the eighth year of the viaducts remaining in place.

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