Vancouver city hall says Marpole needs more park space, and as part of its public consultation on creating a new overall community plan for Marpole, city planning staffers are asking residents what kind of new parks they want in the neighbourhood.
Last Saturday, city staff held a “Street-to-Park Info Session” at Ebisu Park at Selkirk and West 72nd Avenue, which was attended by 65 people and floated the option of expanding the park by one block north on West 72nd Avenue.
Last Tuesday, staffers repeated the exercise at Shaughnessy Park, asking about 25 attendees if they wanted that park extended southward. Their feedback will be summarized into a report to be posted soon at the city’s website for Marpole Community Plan consultations. People can send their opinions about the parks to that site until Dec. 10. (Residents can also join the Marpole Neighbourhood Network by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Gudrun Langolf, president of the Marpole-Oakridge Area Council Society, told the Courier she opposes both park plans, and also objected that taxpayers pay for more parks instead of the bill being footed by land developers.
Marpole stretches from Angus Drive to Ontario Street and from West 57th Avenue to the Fraser River. The area is under heavy development pressures, with the new Safeway condo development at Granville and 70th Avenue and the massive Gateway condo project at Marine Drive and Cambie Street.
The second phases of the Grandview-Woodland, Marpole and West End community planning processes are now underway. For Marpole, more public meetings are planned in January, staff will draft a report over the spring, and present it to city council for a vote next fall.
Last September, 200 people attended two open houses and several focus groups to discuss what the Marpole plan should be. “Those open houses are bulls--t,” Langolf said. “They’re useful only to the degree that the city puts up boards in a context that leads people on what to reply. It is not an exercise to encourage critical thinking. If they wanted a real engagement, they would go door to door and talk to people.”
The city staffers who take public input are well meaning, she added, but in the end, the city managers and politicians are likely to simply override the public will.
Claudia Laroye, executive director of the Marpole Business Association, has a different view. “The city staff are holding many meetings with us and others, and the process is a very welcome endeavor,” she said.
Consultations for the separate but related Cambie Corridor Plan continue. This plan will guide future development along Cambie Street from 16th Avenue to the Fraser River between Heather and Manitoba Streets. It focuses on integrating development with transit and to add greater density to neighbourhoods along the Canada Line SkyTrain route.