Marpole residents accuse City Hall of "ignorance or arrogance"

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


Will we start seeing these kind of posters featuring Mayor Gregor's mugshot soon?

An interesting news release was received by our CityCaucus mailroom staff yesterday. It would appear that - yet again - this Vision council have found a way of offending another Vancouver neighbourhood.

This time its the residents of Marpole that appear concerned with how City Hall is not listening to their concerns. What follows if a copy of the Marpole Residents Alliance news release that was sent to local media in the hope it will generate some attention. It kind of speaks for itself:

(April 27, 2011, Vancouver, BC) The Marpole Area Residents Alliance (MARA) have given their community what City Hall refused to do – an opportunity to review and provide comments on development options for Marine & Cambie.

“We wrote to Council and urged them to direct the Planning department to investigate development options, because the development area at Marine & Cambie is too big and too important not to”. Council did not respond.

The three key sites at Marine & Cambie will provide more housing units than the Olympic Village and the combined retail and commercial space is equivalent to 75% of Oakridge Mall. “We don’t know if its ignorance or arrogance, but either Council doesn’t understand the true complexity of the Marine & Cambie area, or they don’t care about the final outcome of these developments or the voice of the Marpole people. But changes need to be made” says Jo-Anne Pringle, MARA spokesperson.

“It was clear the City wasn’t going to consider alternatives, so we generated them ourselves” say Pringle. We hosted a focus group with Marpole residents and recruited volunteer assistance from four seasoned professionals; three former Senior City of Vancouver Planning Department Staff and a former Urban Design Panel Chair.

“From our focus group we identified five key differences that we are now asking the broader community to comment on, via a brochure and survey, hand delivered to homes in the Marine & Cambie area.”

MARA is also hosting an Open House, displaying these alternatives, on Monday, May 9th
at the Marpole-Oakridge Community Centre (6pm – 8pm, 990 West 59th Avenue @ Oak St).

“Our options support tall high rises in this location, but we also propose a variety of building heights that provide transitions both to the existing community as well as to the future 6 storey developments the City envisions, north of West 64th Avenue on Cambie. The developers’ current proposals don’t provide any transitions at all – to anything. That isn’t good urban design” says Pringle. “And the community also wants a vibrant shopping street, not just mall-type retail.

  1. The five key changes that need to be made to the developments at Marine & Cambie are: A vibrant shopping street that begins at West 64thAvenue (on the Intracorp site); creatingseveral continuous blocks of shops and services
  2. Rather than almost all of the retail concentrated in an inwardly focused mall on the PCI site (SkyTrain site)
  3. A direct walking route along Cambie street, crossing Marine Drive leading directly to the CanadaLine station, rather than diverting people through a retail mall and corridor to get to the station
  4. The major public plaza should be located on the sunny, quieter side of the PCI site (SkyTrainstation site), rather than on the north, shady side where people have to contend with the noise of Marine Drive
  5. There should be fewer high-rises and the inclusion of a variety of building heights. Maximum tower height should be about 29 storeys (or approx 265 ft), rather than the supported maximum of approximately 36 stories (335 feet).

Pringle says, “There isn’t a more key location within the Cambie Corridor Planning Program area, than the Marine Drive station and the City has not taken the time to plan this hub properly. The current Rezoning Applications went on pause in October 2010 to allow for some planning for the hub, but the pause is now over and there haven’t been any significant changes, other than the look of PCI’s residential component - all else has remained basically the same.

“The City is really just supporting what the developers want” Pringle says, referring to the Planning departments recommendations in the upcoming Cambie Corridor Report which will be going beforeCouncil on May 5th.

“We (MARA) will be asking Council on May 5th not to approve anything in the Cambie Corridor Plan that is related to Marine & Cambie until the full results of the community survey are known, and changes are made.”

“We know that big development is coming and we are working hard to ensure that what is built, is right for this community, says Pringle, “We don’t need a Marpole Metrotown. Anyone can build a mall, but it takes a community to build a new neighbourhood heart.”


If you want to learn more about MARA, you can visit their website by clicking here.


I live in the area and I accuse the Marpole Area Residents Alliance (MARA) of "ignorance or arrogance"

I tried to talk to them about supporting the plan and all I got was, and I quote "We don't want to hear that view here. This group is against it. If you are for it, start your own group"

Who really are the ones should be accused "ignorance or arrogance"?

Congratulations to the MARA group for their efforts at bringing some common sense (back) to the community planning process. It's time to re-establish confidence in the process to ensure that options for development fairly balance community objectives with those of the development industry.

Really amazing that the Marpole group who seemed to be so supportive of City efforts at the beginning of the process - when they thought the City Planners were listening, would have the boldness (let's call it p***edness) to call them out.

The City Masters (Vision) has once again let a community down by allowing the developers to dictate the Planning Depts work - i.e. actually listening to citizens and planning prior to asking developers to dictate how our communities should look, operate etc.

Thank you Jo-Ann Pringle for your guts and your hard work. You are simply fabulous.

Jo-Anne for Mayor!

The Thought of The Night

"I'm thinking I should be going into the Greeting Card business. First one I am designing, is for Vision Vancouver. Picture this...the front of the card shows a freshly dug hole. Crosses and funeral stones everywhere. Inside, the card says ' DROP IN ANY TIME!' That would do."

Have anyone attended the free lecture/ session called 'High Buildings - Excellence in Architecture' from cca. 10 days ago at the Fairmont Vancouver Hotel?
Someone who attended the Urban Design Panel meeting confided in me the fact that the whole meeting was a complete disaster. All at the hands of the Director of Planning Brent Toderian.

Apparently after a number of hours of discussing the project (Toyota Site on Burrard and Drake)they had to take a vote. It took them half an hour to get to the point of voting because of the numerous Toderian interruptions who was basically foaming at the mouth, tried to influence the outcome by letting everyone know that they have to vote in such a way so that the City Council will be comfortable with approving later.

Keep in mind that the panel was formed by the members of the UDP plus few honourable guests, architects Jack Diamond from Toronto and Richard Cook from New York , plus a number of prodigious local starchitects, Bing Thom, Richard Henriquez.

And Toderian was giving them lectures on how to vote so to appease to Penny Ballem and to her Vision employers.
I think the project was turned down in the end for lack of clarity of how to vote and on what. LOL

So there it's no wonder there is no leadership coming from the Planning Department. Everywhere you look only ass kissing artists. How do you know you are one? Well, if yu are not a recent Vision hire and You've kept your job till are one.

And yes BT, I am talking about you.
So no doubt in my mind that MARA is pissed off on the City of Vancouver and on its leaders. Oh, wait. What leaders, when there is no leadership?

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

Oh gaaaawd, have you been paying attention...


I've had a similar experience with the Cambie Corridor Plan (which by the way is a massive plan that will impact the entire corridor and has received not a whiff of coverage anywhere--why is that??)

There's this 'stopzoning' group that's firmly 'us vs them'. It's a strange attitude to enter a discussion with.

Ryan's comment should be addressed. There are lots of groups that claim to speak for others but really only speak for themselves. But this does make one think that perhaps (i) there is too much planning, that people should be given more freedom to do what they think appropriate and (ii) that planning become more diverse and shifted to neighborhoods.

Boo, a no coverage theory might be that it is indeed a massive (and, poorly conceived and executed) plan which plows through several neighbourhoods. The conditions, and therefore, the issues in each differ quite a bit, and there are differing community forces at work in each as well.

Marpole is an important part of the plan. The media like controversy and the most controversy so far in the Cambie planning process has been at Marpole. So has the media.

By implication I take it you are saying there should be more coverage of the rest. We agree. It does, however, require long, somewhat technical discussions in order to get into the meat of the problems and shortcomings. Why don't you set up a public forum for such a discussion. I'd like to participate.

@Ryan - I will make this as clear as possible - MARA SUPPORTS BIG DEVELOPMENT AT MARINE & CAMBIE - in fact we have never been against it - if you re-read the Press Release, you will see we support large scale development in this location. Our group (MARA) stood publicly in front of about 250 people at a City hosted Information Session on September 15th and supported big development at Marine & Cambie, we've met with Council and supported big development, and the community website that we created also clearly shows our support for big development at Marine & Cambie. Your quote above is completely untrue. We have never recieved any communications from you, via e-mail or telephone, nor have you ever approached me or my group in person to discuss anything with us. MARA has always worked hard to collect the community voice and to encourage residents to get involved. That is why we put in the effort to create a brochure and community survey that was hand delivered to 1000 homes in the Marine & Cambie area - to give residents an opportunity to participate and share their thoughts. They don't have to agree with our message.

So, to be clear, we support large scale development at Marine & Cambie, but the urban design of the current proposals is poor, and this neighbourhood deserves better.

Ryan - if you would like to meet with us, we would be glad to meet with you. Let us know:

Steven, Ryan, I cannot speak for MARA, but since no-one's piped up as yet, I can say that I've heard them state publicly clearly and categorically that they do not represent the entire Marpole community. They say they do only "speak for themselves". What's wrong with that, particularly in our partisan political environment?

If you take the time to find out what positions they've taken that you'll find they are OK with development, but within an acceptable community plan.

Agree in part Steven, there is to much of the wrong kind of planning going on right across the City at the moment. That must change to allow the neighbourhoods a legitimate voice at the stakeholder table.

"....there is to much of the wrong kind of planning going on right across the City at the moment. That must change to allow the neighbourhoods a legitimate voice at the stakeholder table."

I've heard you bang this drum consistently, and I fully agree. However, I would like to see this as a campaign issue of your party. At this point in time you appear to be a lone voice amongst candidates or councillors in your appreciation of this issue.

Will your party be fully documenting the erosion of the planning process that has occurred over the years, and offering alternatives to restore consultation, and if so how will your party do that? I'd like to see the NPA put constructive alternatives on the table come election time.

Good luck to you.

Douglas, you're right. Allowing "neighbourhoods a legitimate voice at the stakeholder table" is one of my top priorities as a candidate. Depending on who gets the NPA nominations after Wednesday's deadline, I suspect there will be a number of NPA candidates who will share this objective.

You will also recall I have and will continue to put "constructive alternatives on the table" for both Council's and voters consideration. Please see as an example City Caucus post:

"St. John's Church doesn't have to be demolished says McCreery", 29 APR 2011, Post by Bill McCreery in Editorial

So far Council doesn't seem to be listening, but from the feedback I get, voters are.

Check out!

Paid Advertisement

Paid Advertisement