Ambleside Waterfront Plan Guiding Principles

Recognizing the Ambleside waterfront’s untapped potential, in 2013 Council adopted 11 new guiding principles for the Ambleside waterfront and wrote them into the Official Community Plan. (OCP Policy BF-C 4.7)

How the plan responds to the guiding principles

Public Ownership

Public ownership of the waterfront from 13th to 18th Streets is a community value, and the District should continue to acquire the remaining privately owned waterfront lots for public use as opportunities become available.

Public uses unique to the waterfront setting might include walkways, bikeways, open space, recreation, event space, arts and cultural facilities, waterfront and arts related commercial, food services, picnic areas, and children’s play areas.

Privately owned lands may continue to be used for residential purposes.

Waterfront Destination

The Argyle Waterfront should be managed as an urban waterfront destination adjacent to the Ambleside business area serving as the premier open space for community use and enjoyment by all.

Continuous Public Walkway

A continuous public walkway for pedestrians and cyclists should be provided as a primary use and recreational function through the waterfront area.

Consider eliminating, over the long term, when other facilities are provided, public parking and vehicular access on all or parts of Argyle Avenue.

A secondary pedestrian only path adjacent to the water will further build upon the variety of experiences along the waterfront.

Shoreline Edge

An enhanced shoreline should be established which may include seawalls but also features a naturalized edge and shoreline protection to benefit the upland area, protect against sea level rise and be ecologically productive.

Arts and Culture

Arts and culture should serve as a driver for Ambleside revitalization and for linking the waterfront to the commercial area.

Arts and cultural facilities are recognized as an important waterfront use, but should be secondary to the overall waterfront park use.

Community Arts

Community arts development and programming should be an integrated use within the waterfront area.

This could include the relocation of functions to a new building (1600 Block of Bellevue Avenue) and/or improvements to buildings (Ferry Building Gallery, Silk Purse, Music Box and John Lawson Studios).

Heritage Values

Heritage values of the Navvy Jack House and the Ferry Building should be preserved.

Residential use of the Navvy Jack House should be maintained while also allowing for other uses within the building.

Waterfront Related Commercial Activities

Waterfront related commercial activities, including boat rental, waterfront and arts related commercial and food services, have a role in creating diversity and enhancing vibrancy and vitality along the waterfront and should be encouraged.


Public street ends (where the street meets the water) provide both physical and visual accessibility to the waterfront for those of all abilities and should be enhanced.

Future transit and ferry connections should be explored and encouraged. 

Sailing Club

Sailing Club activities (i.e. youth programming, small non-motorized boat launching) are a valuable community asset along the waterfront and future relocation should improve the functionality of the Sailing Centre and open up the waterfront to public access.

Building Scale and Character

Building scale and character should reflect and capitalize on the waterfront landscape and location, i.e. buildings nestled into larger landscape and waterfront environment.