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City looks at next step for Cambie Corridor

A report which, if approved, will kick off phase three of planning for the Cambie Corridor and focusing on family-oriented housing goes before council April 14.
cambie corridor
The city says phase three of planning for the Cambie Corridor will be different than the previous two phases. “It’s primarily geared to family-oriented, grade-related housing opportunities in the shoulder area,” says head planner Brian Jackson. Photo Dan Toulgoet

A report which, if approved, will kick off phase three of planning for the Cambie Corridor and focusing on family-oriented housing goes before council April 14.

The overall study area includes 16th Avenue to the Fraser River between Oak and Ontario Streets. Within that area are proposed focus areas where potential land changes would be considered.

“It captures lands within about 800 metres of Canada Line stations, which is commonly accepted as a reasonable walking distance to high quality transit,” head planner Brian Jackson told the Courier Wednesday.

Phase one of Cambie Corridor planning identified goals and objectives for the corridor, while phase two focused on properties facing onto the Cambie Corridor.

The adoption of phase two in 2011 sparked considerable development — 33 rezoning applications, 26 of which were approved, as well as 16 active enquiries, according to the staff report to council. Approved projects will produce 6,600 new housing units.

“The amount of development [after phase two] has happened quicker than we’d anticipated the take-up, but it just reinforced the adage that it’s not location, location, location, it’s transit, transit, transit that’s where people want to be located along,” Jackson said.

Jackson said reaction to phase two hasn’t changed the proposed approach to phase three.

“Phase three is really going to be quite different. It’s primarily geared to family-oriented, grade-related housing opportunities in the shoulder area. So we anticipate those properties will take longer to assemble, and because the price of land has gone up in the meantime, developers will have to take more time. We hope that it will be taken up as quickly because, quite frankly, that is a piece of the housing continuum that’s missing in Vancouver — townhouses, stacked townhouses and row housing,” he said.

Jackson pointed out that changes are not proposed for the interior of the neighbourhoods.

“It’s really the periphery along the arterials, especially along Cambie, as well as 49th and King Edward, and 41st as well. So it really is providing opportunities for redevelopment of those shoulder areas right in behind the properties that are currently redeveloping,” he said.

“So we’re leaving intact, and we’re not including in our study area, two of the areas between King Edward and 16th, both east and west of Cambie, that have a lot of heritage houses in them. We didn’t want to send the signal that we’re interested in going in there other than through another policy mechanism, which is our Heritage Action Plan. So we’re leaving those areas out of the opportunity areas for redevelopment.”

Similarly, staff propose to leave out the single-family area south of Oakridge, to the west and to the east, from redevelopment opportunities.

“We’re really trying to learn from the Marpole experience,” he said.

When asked if he anticipates any pushback from residents, Jackson noted that interestedly enough, the city has already been contacted by landowners who want their property to be included in areas proposed for change.

Allan Buium, of the Riley Park South Cambie Community Vision Group, said the group will keep watch and provide input on phase three of the Cambie Corridor process as it unfolds and he noted the boundaries have been enlarged. They used to be between Manitoba and Heather streets.

He also questions several references to affordability in the staff report. Biuim points to a standard bungalow near his house that recently sold for more than $1.6 million.

“You tell me where the hell is affordability. Things have gone insane. So when they’re talking row houses etc., I don’t know where they’re going to get affordable homes when the new development at 25th and Ash where the Hobbit House is — [those] townhouses are going to go for a million plus.”

noconnor@vancourier.com
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