Fresh scenes from Marine Drive at Cambie Skytrain (Canada Line): All a done deal even before 2010?

Construction is well underway around the Marine Drive and Cambie Street intersection. And it’s going to get busier. City Council approved the rezoning at 455 SW Marine Drive (Marine Gardens) at a Public Hearing on February 26, 2015, for Concord Pacific to build 27 and 21 story towers, plus a 6.5 storey midrise. Despite strong opposition and many valid concerns from the public, Vision Vancouver and NPA councillors voted for the rezoning. Only the Green Councillor Adriane Carr voted against. The video is from the gate of Marine Gardens today.

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We thank a CityHallWatch reader for sending us these fresh photos and Omid for a video today, for people who don’t pass that part of town often. This is rather  timely. Tonight at a Public Hearing, City Council will discuss and might vote on a rezoning for the next major development at 445 Southwest Marine Drive– 27 and 21 storey towers for Concord Pacific on what is now the Marine Gardens community (see video). Another reader commented just today that he had only recently passed the intersection after a hiatus, and was shocked at the huge scale of development and size of buildings going up here.

Location of Marine Gardens in Vancouver

Location of Marine Gardens in Vancouver

When was the fate of Marine Gardens really decided? Which forces had the greatest influence on what happened here? What was the role citizens? Were things effectively set in stone, even to the detail of height and density, before 2010? In light of B.C. Justice McEwan’s January 2015 court decision overturning a rezoning and development permit and ordering the public Hearing to be held again (CANY v. CoV, Brenhill case), were all the Public Hearings for rezonings in this area conducted with procedural fairness? Did the City disclose everything it should have prior to each Public Hearing?

Below is a photo from a June 2010 presentation, already showing towers on the Marine Gardens, targeted for the rezoning. This was long before Concord Pacific bought the property or any members of the public had heard of plans for the site. Local resident Jillian Skeet immediately wrote this letter to Mayor Gregor Robertson at the time to articulate concerns and questions. He never replied.

Were the Marine Gardens towers a done deal already in 2010, even before Concord Pacific bought the land?

Were the Marine Gardens towers a done deal already in 2010, even before Concord Pacific bought the land?

In the model above from 2010, the two black plastic towers together (one vertical and one horizontal) are overlaying what is now Marine Gardens, subject of this week’s public hearing. Another black tower further to the right represents MC2 (Intracorp – and, which was approved as two towers (26 and 32 storeys, marketed by Bob Rennie).

So…at what critical point was the overall scenario for height and density settled for the Marine and Cambie area? It appears it was well before 2010, with the driver being the concept of “transit-oriented development.”

So what is the significance of these observations today? As proponents of a subway on the Broadway Corridor talk about reducing traffic congestion, how many urban planning decisions are being settled behind the scenes, long before any detailed public discussion?

By voting “Yes” in 2015 to the proposed transit tax are people unwittingly pawns, sealing the fate of neighbourhoods and streetscapes along many kilometers of the route? To be continued…

Other CityHallWatch stories about Marine

One thought on “Fresh scenes from Marine Drive at Cambie Skytrain (Canada Line): All a done deal even before 2010?

  1. The model simply confirms what’s become the normal way of doing business. Architects and developers used to meet with the urban design planners in a ‘predesign’ session. The discussion was two way and in the end the basic design parameters were agreed to. Now they go to the Mayor’s office and are told what the uses will be, what the FSR will be, what the height will be, and, let’s not forget, what the CAC’s will be. There is no ‘discussion’.

    This is a disgusting, autocratic tactic. The big losers are the occupants, the neighbours and the rest of the people in the region as well as visitors who will be affected by this brutality, as well as the developers and architects, who are forced to work in a straight jacket conceived behind closed doors, and who are held for ransom, pay up or else in a, once again, behind closed doors opaque process.

    If you want to see where our city is going, refer to the Soviet era buildings (they are not architecture) with North American sugar coating added to sweeten the product.

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