Bounded by Angus Drive and Ontario Street and West 57th and the Fraser River, Marpole is well served for parks and open space in terms of the city average, according to the City of Vancouver. But many of its parks need upgrading and connections between open spaces needs to be improved.
Parks and open spaces is the subject of a Marpole Community Plan workshop March 13.
The workshop is part of the latest round of public consultation for the plan, which has included two open houses, a housing workshop in late February and another one on transportation and land use last week.
To date, more than 3,300 people have taken part in consultation for the plan through open houses, workshops, walking tours, focus groups and community festivals.
The March 13 workshop will cover parks-related topics including open space, food (through community gardens and markets) and public spaces such as plaza and community facilities.
Marpole’s 11 parks range in size from the largest Winona Park (5.31 hectares) to the smallest Marpole Park (.27 hectares). Ebisu Park (.4 hectares) was created about six years ago after three parcels of land were consolidated.
It’s one of five new parks in Marpole over the past 30 years, along with a park site on Shaughnessy Street, William Mackie, Ash and Fraser River Park, the upland portion of which is within Marpole.
But 55 per cent of Marpole’s parks are in poor condition, compared to 20 per cent citywide. Thirty-six per cent are in fair condition and nine per cent are in good shape.
Matt Shillito, the city’s assistant director of community planning, told the Courier the main concern about Marpole parks is their condition, usability and the diversity of things that can be done in the spaces — not the quantity.
“The area is generally quite well served in terms of parks and open spaces in terms of the actual amount of space, but it also has quite a number of parks that are identified by the park board as in need of upgrading and improvement,” he said late last month. “Their condition isn’t that great in a number of cases and they could be used more productively. There are quite a lot of areas that are really just mowed grassland. There isn’t much in the way of sitting out areas and kids play facilities and games courts and those kinds of things that would allow them to be used more.”
Parks in need of improvements include Ash Park, which has uneven fields and Eburne Park whose tennis courts need resurfacing. Marpole Park needs upgrading and Shannon Park lacks basic amenities — these are just a few concerns noted in Marpole Community Plan documents.
Shillito added that the greatest lack of park space is in the apartment area south of 70th Avenue.
“So in terms of geographical distribution there are parts of Marpole that are not that well served and unfortunately that’s in the area where there’s some higher residential density,” he said.
The city is trying to address that through the streets-to-parks initiative, which is exploring the possibility of expanding the smaller parks by closing adjacent streets, according to Shillito.
Another key subject is that only 25 per cent of Marpole’s waterfront is publicly accessible. One of the plan’s “emerging strategies” is “negotiate with the province to gain addition access to and along the Fraser River, specifically access to the land under the Oak Street and Arthur Laing bridges.”
See the Marpole Community Plan page on the city website for more details about the workshop and for registration information.
Shillito expects a draft plan will be presented by early summer and a final document will go before council in October. Once adopted, the Marpole Community Plan will guide change in the neighbourhood for the next 30 years.