Marpole residents assemble against rezoning

Demonstrators rally outside city hall. Photo by Patrick Colvin
Demonstrators rally outside city hall. Photo by Patrick Colvin

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.

A draft proposal for rezoning in the Marpole area. Source:
A draft proposal for rezoning in the Marpole area. Source:

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.

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