Aborted Plans: A Third Crossing for the North Shore

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I spent the last three months of 2015 working on an interactive project called Water’s Edge for the North Vancouver Museum and Archives. We started at Indian Arm and went a little west of Ambleside to find the stories that would show the massive changes that have happened to the shoreline and to Burrard Inlet.

One of my favourite parts was looking at the many changes that didn’t happen such as the much talked about third crossing to the North Shore. The most recent plan  was laid out in a book published in 1974 called Vancouver Tomorrow: A search for Greatness, by Warnett Kennedy.

Aborted Plans 3rd crossing Warnett map

Warnett was a Scottish-born architect, town planner and City of Vancouver Alderman who arrived in 1952 to develop Annacis Island. The Greater Vancouver Book writes: “Kennedy imagined what he called a ‘wet village on the west coast’ transformed into a megalopolis, where vertical take-off aircraft would take citizens from the roofs of the West End’s 100-storey apartment buildings to homes in the suburbs—the peaks of Grouse and Seymour. Key to his vision was the idea that tourists and future residents would come to mountaintop chalets to gaze out over the Fraser Valley’s farmlands, which, overdue for a massive flood anyway, would have been left untouched by suburban sprawl.”

Clearly, Warnett missed the mark there—no 100-story apartment buildings yet fortunately–the Shangri-la is the highest at 62 stories. Although aircraft pick up from my North Vancouver rooftop does sound like a pleasant way to avoid traffic jams and road rage.

But speaking of gridlock, there’s still no third crossing either.

"People are nervous when it is proposed to tamper with a loved environment. a tunnel, although more expensive, is apparently the popular choice (Vancouver Tomorrow: a search for greatness)
“People are nervous when it is proposed to tamper with a loved environment. a tunnel, although more expensive, is apparently the popular choice” (Vancouver Tomorrow: a search for greatness)

Warnett writes: “One might think that the water which separates the North Shore from Vancouver’s downtown was the Grand Canyon. This mindlock has to be broken. It stultifies imagination in planning.”

Warnett’s idea for a third crossing would continue along from a tunnel under Thurlow Street. Cars and rapid transit would cross to the North Shore just by Brockton Point over the world’s biggest cable bridge, and exit at Pemberton Avenue.

The world's biggest cable-stayed bridge off Brockton Point would be 8% less costly than a tunnel on the same alignment (Vancouver Tomorrow: A search for greatness)
“The world’s biggest cable-stayed bridge off Brockton Point would be 8% less costly than a tunnel on the same alignment,” (Vancouver Tomorrow: A search for greatness)

Makes you wonder though. More than 40 years has passed since that proposal was rejected and North Vancouver is still without a third crossing or a direct connection to Vancouver’s rapid transit system.

Next Week: Warnett Kennedy’s Twin City Concept

© All rights reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, all blog content copyright Eve Lazarus.

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4 comments

  1. So glad it hasn’t happened (yet); and this is from a life-long North Shore resident. Sometime in the mid 70’s I recall one wag writing to a local editor and referring to him as “Worn-out Kennedy”. For better of worse, Mr. Kennedy was also one of the advocates for removing much of Vancouver’s Neon heritage.

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