A recent report to city hall recommends delaying major commercial and residential plans in Marpole but the response from residents is clear: “Tell highrise-Robertson that we’re not interested . . . we don’t want an extension. We just don’t want your plan.”
These were the words of community worker Jesse Johl as he addressed a crowd of hundreds at a rally outside city hall on Sept. 24. Most of the demonstrators were there to protest over densification of Marpole and the Cambie corridor and to express disdain for the city’s proposed solution: three months of citizen assemblies to discuss the community’s plans.
Local citizens demand support for projected population
The substantial rezoning and development is part of municipal civic party Vision Vancouver’s plan that would see major change along Cambie from 41st to SW Marine Drive and residential densification throughout Marpole.
Rally speaker Garry Chalk thinks the citizen assemblies are a “sop.” In his mind, Vision Vancouver’s plan is “a done deal.”
Concerns from residents are focused around a lack of community infrastructure as Vision Vancouver’s plan is expected to bring another 10,000 residents to a neighbourhood of roughly 20,000.
“We don’t need more density until we have more infrastructure, we don’t need more density until we have our transit. That’s what makes a city work – you grow incrementally,” says Chalk.
Councillors weigh in
At least one city councillor is in agreement with disconcerted Marpole residents.
“You deserve to have a planning process and a set of decisions that reflects your will and a city council that should be reflecting your will,” said city councillor Adriane Carr.
“We should be representing you, not developers.”
City Councillor George Affleck does not share his colleague’s sentiment addressing the residential backlash, “I’m definitely not happy but sad to see this outrage.”
Low numbers discourages demonstrators
Roughly 250 people turned up to the rally. With such a low number, some demonstrators found it hard to be optimistic about the chances of creating change.
As community activist Richard Nantel puts it, “In modern democracy I think apathy is the greatest enemy of democracy.”
Reported by Patrick Colvin and Kelci Nicodemus
UPDATE: According to Mayor Gregor Robertson via Twitter, city council has approved extending redevelopment plans for the Marpole area for six months.
Below residents and community members of Marpole and the Cambie Corridor take their stand outside city hall Sept. 24.