South Vancouver residents upset over new capital plan

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mural
Children play in a mural found behind the Marpole-Oakridge Community Centre. (Kera Skocylas photo)

Reported by Kera Skocylas

Vancouver residents said they are frustrated with city hall that the new capital plan does not specify any funding for the Marpole-Oakridge Community Centre, even though the centre was approved for funding in the last capital plan.

New capital plan hits Vancouver

On Oct. 1, Vancouver city council and park board approved Vancouver’s 2015-2018 capital plan. It is a $1-billion financial plan for investing in the city’s facilities and infrastructure, including parks and community facilities, streets, sidewalks and water.

Norman Zottenberg, Marpole-Oakridge Community Association president, expressed his concern with city hall on the association’s website. According to Zottenberg, the park board had assured the centre funding for renewal in the new plan. He said there was nothing outlined for the centre and he wasn’t notified about the change from city hall.

janetfraser
Janet Fraser is a Green Party of Vancouver nominee for School Trustee. She is also the co-founder of Marpole Matters. (Submitted photo by Janet Fraser)

The community centre was approved for $10 million to start the renewal process in the last capital plan, but Marpole Matters CEO Janet Fraser said she doesn’t know if the money is still available or if it has been spent.

Park board commissioner Trevor Loke said the $10 million from the previous capital plan was repurposed to other projects.

He said the community could not agree on a location for the centre, so the project wasn’t able to start. The community is “split down the middle,” between the current location and re-locating to Granville Street.

Balancing out residential needs

Loke said in the new capital plan the emerging priority fund includes $17 million for the community centre to get the project started.

Loke said they are currently in the “initial public consultation phase,” collecting information from the community to decide on the location. He said a major concern is balancing the needs of people who live across the entire neighbourhood.

He said the park board will assess the feedback to figure out the next step.

Fraser said it has been very frustrating not knowing what’s going to happen. She said there are many unanswered questions and uncertainties.

“Going by the past, what has happened is nothing,” Fraser said. “It’s hard to get your hopes up that something will actually happen.”

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