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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The North Fraser River greenway : using greenway design as a tool for industrial retention, environmental restoration, and public integration along a working waterway Mikkelsen, Dale R.


The north shore of the North Arm of the Fraser River represents the Southern boundary of the City of Vancouver. This boundary has been crucial to the development of Vancouver as a city that strives on natural resource processing and shipping. This industrial heritage along the North Fraser has provided Vancouver with a substantial portion of its revenue and tax base since the 1800's, but is currently under threat by land developers and residential pressures. With this development pressure comes the increased lure of immediate revenue, increased public use of the waterfront, and an increase in market housing within the city limits. However, this pressure will also result in a loss of economic sustainability and long-term revenue dollars. This is a trend that is occurring throughout the lower mainland, encouraging a commuter environment and a dissociation between place of work and place of residence. This thesis seeks to combat this issue and will illustrate that it is not only desirable, but necessary to sustain urban resource-based industry along the North Fraser. Through the implementation of a Greenway design, the thesis will prove that the portion of the North Fraser that lies between the Knight Street Bridge and the Oak Street Bridge can retain its industrial character, while becoming more inclusive of the cultural/social needs of a growing population and recognizing environmental concerns. The implementation of a public recreational Greenway will enhance the quality of the area, thereby drawing users both within and beyond the surrounding community to take advantage of a great resource that is often forgotten or hidden by intensive industrial frontage. At the same time, the Greenway will provide opportunities for education and awareness that will highlight the values and benefits of an industrial infrastructure along the North Fraser. Finally, the thesis will prove that such an endeavour is not only sustainable in a cultural and economic sense, but that a Greenway has the capacity to provide a rehabilitated ecological condition that will sustain a valuable and fragile ecosystem.

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