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Developing Story: Marpole Residents Coalition opposes city's community plan report

The Marpole Residents’ Coalition has rejected a city staff report that recommends “significant revisions” to the Marpole Community Plan, such as amending the draft plan to focus change on arterial streets and to limit change in single-family areas.
marpole protest
Residents gathered at the Marpole-Oakridge Community Centre in August for a meeting organized by the Marpole Residents Coalition.

The Marpole Residents’ Coalition has rejected a city staff report that recommends “significant revisions” to the Marpole Community Plan, such as amending the draft plan to focus change on arterial streets and to limit change in single-family areas. The report also proposes removing a defined area west of Cambie Street from the plan for further planning work. As reported in the Courier earlier this week, staff recommend the community plan be granted a short extension until the end of this year or early next year for consultation on proposed revisions.

Staff note in the report that the greatest concern for change in single-family areas was heard from residents in Marpole neighbourhoods west of Cambie Street. The draft plan proposed duplex, townhouse and some six-storey apartment buildings in the area because it’s within walking distance of the Canada Line Station at Marine Drive and a future station at West 57th Avenue.

Based on residents’ concerns, staff recommended the region between Heather and Cambie streets and 59th and 69th avenues be removed from the community plan process, with any land use changes being considered during future planning work as part of the broader Cambie Corridor phase three planning program that begins next year. That process will include public consultation.

The Marpole recommendations are included in a broader report about the progress of all four community plans that are being updated.

Staff recommend delaying the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan for at least a year, while no delays are recommended for the draft West End or Downtown Eastside community plans.

The report will be discussed at the Sept. 25 city finance and services committee meeting. As of Friday afternoon, 38 people had registered to speak.

Brian Jackson, the city’s manager of planning and development, told the Courier last Tuesday that staff tried to come up with a response that was appropriate for each community, “recognizing that each community’s concerns were different, recognizing that the processes involved were different and recognizing the level of work that had been done in each of the communities over the years was different.”

Mike Burdick, spokesman for the Marpole Residents Coalition, said its members voted to reject the staff report at a meeting Thursday night, which attracted almost 100 residents. Burdick said there was a “spirited discussion” but no one spoke in support of the report.

The coalition considers it “an arbitrary response to the community’s complaints” and that it “contains no concrete offers of consultation.”

“They took a flawed plan and tried to adjust it and placate us,” Burdick told the Courier Friday, surmising, “Some politician said, ‘Look, we’ve got to quiet those people down. This might work, so let’s do it.’ And they made some changes, so that’s why we’re against it — there’s been no consultation. There’s been no explanation as to why they wanted to do it in the first place.”

The coalition opposes removing an area of the neighbourhood for further planning work, arguing the Marpole Community Plan should include all of Marpole.

“This suggestion could be construed as a divide and conquer ploy to create an internal division within the united Marpole population,” the group said in a Friday press release, which also stated:

“There are already enough residential projects being developed in Marpole to satisfy all additional housing requirements identified in long-term population projections. Additionally, the residential capacity of the single-family home neighbourhoods will increase naturally with the addition of laneway homes and the replacement of older homes with new houses, which include basement suites. There is no need to rezone any single-family home areas.”

Members of the coalition are among Vancouver residents planning to attend a rally at city hall at 5:45 p.m., Sept. 24, the evening before the report is brought before the city finance and services committee.

noconnor@vancourier.com

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