Marpole: Vancouver's Gateway

What does Marpole mean to you?

OCTOBER 2005 - Vancouver, BC -- The Marpole Business Association (BIA) asked this question as part of an award-winning contest in 2001, asking community residents and shoppers about what Marpole meant to them. Some of the responses were striking; hidden jewel, historic, village, friendly, affordable west-side, safe, neighbourly, gateway to Vancouver, well-serviced shopping area, home.

Many Vancouverites may not be able to find Marpole on a map, but Marpole's residents, business people and community advocates know and care very deeply about this unique and important neighbourhood in southwestern Vancouver. As a candidate for City Council, you should understand the issues and concerns of the Marpole community, and what they mean to us and the city as a whole.

Marpole Issues

The Marpole Gateway

Marpole is the Gateway to Vancouver for thousands of residents, commuters, visitors and tourists each and every day. The southwestern entrance to the city, as entered from the Arthur Laing Bridge currently encompasses industrial land, some commercial buildings, the Fraser River and a First Nations Midden. It is under whelming in its impact as a city gateway.

During the discussions prompted by the TransLink Transit Centre development on the Eburne Lands in 2003, the community encouraged the creation of a process to plan for this important entrance to the City. The players involved in this process included: Port North Fraser, TransLink, Southgate Properties, City of Vancouver, YVR( Vancouver International Airport), Musqueam First Nation, members of the community including citizens and representatives of various non-governmental organizations.

In January 2005, the Fraser Basin Council facilitated a Community Ideas Exchange with a two-day process to find common ground amongst the players. (See attached Executive Summary of this work). Since the Fraser Basin Council meetings, citizens and property owners have been undertaking discussions about land use. TransLink has established a Public Committee to discuss their project and Southgate Properties has held several meetings with a consultative committee of citizens. The community is actively engaged in planning & visioning - we need the City of Vancouver to recognize its leadership role and to become more fully engaged in this process.

Hundreds of hours have been and continue to be spent in efforts to undertake discussions with the many interests for the future of the MARPOLE GATEWAY. The future of the Fraser River interface has been a unifying element. To create an exciting entrance to our City from the south will be important work ahead.

The Fraser River Waterfront & Riverfront Trail

Marpole's history is inextricably tied to the Fraser River. While the waterfront has historically been heavily industrial, the industrial land base along the Fraser River is changing as part of a more general shift in Vancouver's industrial economy. Over the past two years, the community has successfully fought for public access to the Fraser River waterfront. A Riverfront Trail is being created the full length of the new TransLink Transit facility. TransLink is undertaking the work but the Trail will be managed by the City of Vancouver. Other riverfront properties in Marpole are ripe for redevelopment, or may soon be.

There is great opportunity for entertaining new mixed-use development options, which could revitalize the Fraser River waterfront, expand its public accessibility and use, and increase business, tourism and recreational opportunities. The City has successfully done this to great acclaim in other waterfront locations, but has yet to engage on the waterfront opportunities that exist today in Marpole. There is a need for a new vision and plan of the Fraser River waterfront in Marpole.

Outdated Official Community Plan (OCP)

The Marpole OCP dates back to 1980. It is not a relevant planning document, and Marpole is in desperate need of a new visioning and planning process. Many Marpole residents & community representatives participated in the City's "Future Planning Workshops" in Winter 2005, in the hopes of achieving priority for planning/revisioning services in the near future. The issues requiring attention are myriad; densification, traffic, transportation, crime & safety, industrial land-use & conversion, RAV line development. The Marpole community wishes to shape its future along the City's guidelines of creating a sustainable community in which its residents can live, work, play and shop. We need a 21st Century OCP in order to create this sustainable community.

Traffic & Transportation

Marpole has long been a "through" destination, rather than a "to" destination. Commuter car, industrial truck and transit traffic travelling to and from UBC, Richmond, and the Vancouver International Airport (Canada's second busiest airport) define Marpole's busy streets; Granville, Oak, Cambie and SW Marine Drive. A comprehensive traffic management plan is desperately needed to assist the Marpole community in coping with ever-increasing traffic volumes and congestion. The relocation of the TransLink Transit Centre will significantly add to the number of transit vehicles competing for access & egress to Marpole. The City needs to partner withthe Marpole community to pro actively work on traffic management solutions and to keep our neighbourhood livable.

Crime & Safety

Marpole is subject to many of the same crime and safety concerns as other parts of Vancouver; residential and commercial break and enters, theft of and from auto, drug use and street activity. Statistically, Marpole's crime rates are lower than the City and west side average, perhaps due to the neighourhood's physical distance from downtown. Nonetheless, residents and businesses are always concerned about maintaining law and order in the community, and ensuring that Marpole remains a safe and secure place to live, run a business and raise a family.

The Canada Line

The Canada Line will be built and operated along Cambie Street, with two stops located in Marpole. The transit system will be rerouted to an east-west grid to feed the line at its various stations & stops. The Cambie and SW Marine Drive intersection is slated for rezoning and redevelopment by the City. Unfortunately, the planning for this redevelopment is limited to this intersection location, and will likely not take into account the broader implications of the Canada Line and transit rerouting on the Marpole community as a whole. It would be more advantageous to examine this issue in the broader context of community redevelopment and densification in Marpole, as per the City's objectives to create livable and sustainable communities.In

Summary

As a potential elected person, we ask you to become informed about what has been achieved to date. We ask you to champion a vision for this special part of our city - this will prove to be a true example of a "sustainable" community. The community is ready to work with the City to find solutions - we need your help.