So in the updated design, we now have "right sized" the terraces (i.e. made them smaller) and removed one out of the two places where a person could theoretically "touch the water". Oh, and it looks like they removed the water feature for good measure. What a disaster! This is all being done in the name of being more "eco friendly" - I mean, what are we, nihilists? Can we not have at least ONE spot in the centre of the city where there is a proper urban interface with the river. This is simply unacceptable design and City council should reject it, send them back to the drawing board. We aren't going to get the chance to "do over" this space for another 50 years. Highly disappointing.
Well, I think the first problem here is the name of the project, as others have pointed out. Touch the Water doesn't really live up to expectations. If the city was to be honest, it should have been called DON'T touch the water, or We DON'T really want you to touch the water, but you can at least get a bit closer to it. I know that would have been terrible marketing, but it would have saved a lot of disappointment as the city backs away from what it never really wanted anyways.
I suppose this location is good for a gathering place, close to the river so yes we should utilize it more. However, I was never a fan of all the expensive concrete - less is better. Actually, touching the water doesn't actually really need tons of concrete. It just needs water (already there) and access. A sandy beach like area might actually be better. At the least have the imagination try something without lots of concrete.
One problem with the city, is they can not do anything simple and elegant. It has to be grandiose millions of dollars and tons of concrete. Of course, they never have the operating budget to properly maintain it and in 5 to 10 years in our climate the concrete will be full of cracks and become an eyesore and either be closed permanently or then they will need to spend millions to repair it.