Marpole, the South West Vancouver neighbourhood, is on the cusp of transitioning into a vibrant community but some challenges must be addressed to ensure that its quality of life continues to flourish.
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The neighbourhood will have to deal with a growing population, increased issues around housing affordability, aging community facilities, and transportation infrastructure. Density is something that is coming to all Vancouver neighbourhoods as the city has no other recourse but to densify and build upwards to accommodate expected growth in a sustainable way and enact policy that focuses on the big regional picture rather than merely a local neighbourhood one.
Marpole as it is today
Marpole is a riverfront community located in the south of Vancouver’s west side, bounded
by Angus drive, West 57th Avenue, Ontario street, and the Fraser River. It comprises of 1,386
acres (561 hectares), making up about 5 per cent of Vancouver’s total land area and is home to about 25,000 people.
Marpole has a population density of 43 people per hectare, which is lower than the citywide
average of 54 people per hectare, but about average compared to other neighbourhoods
outside the central area of Vancouver.
In 2011, 68 per cent of families in Marpole had children living at home, compared to 58 per cent citywide, and 38 per cent of all households in Marpole had children, compared to 30 per cent citywide.
Marpole residents have a lower median household income and a higher share of residents considered low income than the rest of Vancouver. Within Marpole, renters face the greatest challenges – their median household income is about half the median income of homeowners and 32 per cent of renters spend more than 30 per cent of their income on housing.
In Marpole, there are approximately 10,100 units of housing within a diversity of types and tenures:
• 55% are apartments
• 56% are rented
• 97% of rental units are protected by Rate of change regulations
• 639 units of social housing (2.6% of the city’s stock)
There are over 4,000 units of relatively affordable market rental housing in Marpole, 85 per cent of which were built prior to 1975.
The new Marpole Community Plan will exclude the Cambie Corridor, which has it’s own plan, and the the industrial lands to the south.
Respecting neighbourhood character while managing growth
- minimize change to single-family areas – about 85% of existing single-family zoned areas will not change
- focus growth along or near major streets, where transit, shops and services are available
New and improved community amenities
A comprehensive Public Benefits Strategy:
- a renewed community centre and library
- upgrades for existing facilities
- new childcare spaces
- new park space and improvements to existing parks
- work with the Vancouver School Board to ensure school capacity is expanded as the population grows
- new bus connections between Granville Street and Cambie Street
- pursue future transit opportunities along the Arbutus corridor
Walking and Cycling
- improve existing walking/cycling routes and develop new routes to better connect across the community, to and along the Fraser River, and to the broader region
Vibrant local shopping area along the Granville High Street
- support local shops and services with new housing along Granville Street and the surrounding neighbourhood
- support affordable, small business opportunities
- provide an enjoyable shopping experience with appropriate public spaces, including wider sidewalks, plazas, seating, lighting and landscaping
Marpole Community Plan Sub Areas
Granville Street Marpole Community Plan
Granville Street serves as the main neighbourhood centre and ‘high street’ for Marpole, with a variety of shops, services, restaurants, and the Marpole Library. The development of the Safeway site at West 70th Avenue is bringing higher buildings to what has been a lower-scale area.
The Granville ‘high street’ will be strengthened and enhanced as a walkable, mixed-use neighbourhood centre with a variety of shops, services, restaurants, and a mix of housing. It will continue to be the social ‘heart’ of Marpole and a welcoming place for Vancouver, distinguished by active street life, public plazas, and infused with references to its Musqueam heritage within the public realm.
The plan calls for mixed use towers between 4 and 12 floors. It will also have strong walking and cycling connections to transit and other key destinations such as schools, shops, parks, and the Fraser River.
Hudson Area Marpole Community Plan
Upper Hudson will retain it’s character of single family homes and duplexes while Lower Hudson will be strengthened as a walkable residential area, with a focus on protecting the existing stock of affordable rental housing.
The ‘working village’ feel will be supported by retaining a mix of uses and celebrating the Musqueam heritage and cultural amenities in the area. New walking and cycling routes will improve mobility and access to key destinations in the community, with a focus on parks, shops, community facilities and the Fraser River
Incremental development of new rental housing along West 70th Avenue will be accompanied by
improvements to the pedestrian environment. The commercial and cultural area south of West
72nd Avenue will accommodate growth and encourage the retention and expansion of the unique businesses and facilities. New, strategically located public plazas will create places to gather and soften the streetscape. Lighting, wayfinding and other improvements will improve access to
the Fraser River and create a memorable walking experience.
The architectural character in the Lower Hudson Street area should reflect its diverse past and
eclectic appeal, capturing the spirit of the historic village and current industrial context. Creative gestures and cultural accents are welcomed and encouraged as part of a coherent streetscape composition.
Oak Street Marpole Community Plan Vision
Oak Street will transition to having a more urban residential character with new housing types and an improved overall look and feel. Located in the centre of Marpole, Oak Street at West 67th Avenue will become a focal point for this area, developed as an urban mixed-use “node”, creating a vital connection between east and west Marpole.
The commercial area will be strengthened and enhanced through more prominent mid-rise, mixed-use buildings, including increased retail space at street level and a new urban plaza to help establish a sense of place. Wide sidewalks, street trees and planted boulevards will create a comfortable, safe and attractive walking experience along Oak Street. Existing commercial area at Oak Street and West 67th Avenue Oak sub-area
Additional housing variety, including apartments and townhouses, will be introduced to provide a sensitive transition in scale and height to the surrounding residential areas. West 67th Avenue is a desirable neighbourhood walking and cycling route that connects the Granville shopping area, library, schools and churches to the Canada Line station.
Improvements to the public realm at Oak Street will create a pleasant and memorable place on this popular route through the neighbourhood. The architectural character of the Oak Street area should echo the optimism of its postwar past. Contemporary materials can predominate in combination with traditional materials.
Architectural detailing could reflect the feeling of movement that the automobile era inspired, while providing a comfortable pedestrian scale and rhythm at the street level.
Cambie (excluding Cambie Corridor) Marpole Community Plan Vision
The area within a 10 minute walk to the Canada Line will evolve to become a highly walkable, vibrant urban area that responds to its evolving residential context. The mixed-use hub at SW Marine Drive and Cambie Street will also offer new job space, shopping and entertainment uses.
New walking and cycling routes through the neighbourhood will provide safe and attractive connections to transit, shops, parks and other key destinations. Opportunities for additional social housing in this transit-supported area will be provided.
The industrial areas south of SW Marine Drive will be retained and enhanced with employment opportunities on limited and strategically located sites.