The concern: The Park Board has backtracked on a September 2010 agreement that a new community centre be built in Oak Park, despite many compelling reasons for retaining a community centre there.
6th October 2014: Read an excellent analysis of the current status of the stalled Marpole-Oakridge Community Centre renewal and what led up to this situation posted on here on City Hall Watch.
- The address of the Marpole-Oakridge Community Centre (MOCC) is 990 West 59th Avenue (at Oak Street). It is located at the north-west corner of Oak Park. Because it is the oldest community centre in the municipality (it was built in 1949), the City of Vancouver (CoV) slated it for renewal.
- In September, 2010, the CoV Park Board agreed with the Marpole-Oakridge Community Association (MOCA) Board’s suggestion that a new community centre be built in Oak Park.
The CoV paid about $50,000 for an architect to do a preliminary design and feasibility study which concluded that Oak Park is a good location for for the new community centre. The proposed community centre was to be built to the east of the existing one in the area currently occupied by the parking lot. (See photo of model of the proposed building on right).
- A budget of $10 million was allocated for development of the new community centre.
- Park Board Commissioner Aaron Jasper told the MOCA Board that the location of the new community centre is undecided.
- It has been suggested that the new community centre should be built on land on the east side of Granville St south of West 67th Ave, which includes the current location of the library. CoV has recently purchased this property.
Advantages of Retaining a Community Centre at Oak Park
- It is a 5 minute walk from Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School (7055 Heather St), which has 2,200 students and is the largest secondary school in Vancouver. Many students go to MOCC for after school activities. As of April 2014, a current Churchill student and a graduate are on the MOCA Board of Directors.
It is even closer to the Sir Wilfrid Laurier Elementary School (7350 Laurel St) and the Ideal Mini School
(855 W 59th Ave).
- A CoV-funded Community Youth Worker is located at here. MOCC is a de facto “youth hub”.
Because it is at the corner of Oak Park, it is co-located with:
Users of any of these also have convenient access to the facilities at MOCC.
- an outdoor children’s playground with water/spray park,
- a ball/roller hockey rink,
- a basketball court,
- 3 soccer fields (including 1 with lights for play after dusk),
- 2 baseball diamonds (including softball), and
- 2 tennis courts.
- There is plenty of land for expansion of the community centre to accommodate Marpole’s projected 52% growth during the next 30 years.
The community centre’s existing location is closer to the Cambie Corridor than the alternative Granville St and 67th Ave location. Most of the population growth will occur along the Cambie Corridor with its many towers. These developments include:
- Marine Gateway,
- Marine Gardens redevelopment,
- Northwest by Wesgroup Properties,
- Pearson Dogwood Lands redevelopment,
- Langara Gardens redevelopment, and
- the rezoned single family homes along Cambie St.
Organizational use of MOCC’s large meeting rooms includes:
- Vancouver Community College ESL classes,
- SUCCESS women’s groups meetings, and
- Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Program sessions.
- MOCC runs seniors’ programs used by nearby residents. The Sunrise Senior Living Home is 2 blocks away.
Discussion of Alternatives
If a new YMCA is built on the Pearson Dogwood Lands, why is there a need for a community centre at Oak Park?
- There is no certainty that there will be a new YMCA in the Pearson Dogwood redevelopment because no building plans have been approved.
- Although there is some overlap, community centres offer programs and services not available at YMCAs.
- The YMCA tends to attract clientèle with a more athletic nature whereas MOCC patrons tend to be primarily interested in general lifestyle fitness and recreation.
- The YMCA can be more expensive. For example, the drop-in fee to use strength- and cardio-training equipment (as at April 2014) is $8 at the YMCA and $5.67 at MOCC.
- The YMCA is already well used. With additional population moving to the Cambie Corridor, the new YMCA will probably be at full capacity and unable to accommodate additional users following closure of MOCC at its current site.
- Although the YMCA is a family facility, it is unlikely to be able to accommodate the influx of a multitude of energetic teens at the end of every Churchill school day, and have facilities to enable them to play basketball for free.
Why shouldn’t the new community centre be co-located with the new library south of Granville St & 67th Ave?
- The Marpole Community Plan approved in April 2014 wants to “ensure continued youth programs in schools and the community centre” but Churchill students have said that they will not walk to this location to perform activities that they do at the current MOCC.
It is said that this development might accommodate:
The current MOCC has several heavily-used large meeting rooms. Will there be enough room for:
- an enlarged library,
a relocated Marpole Place Neighbourhood
House, which provides services to seniors and others, and
- other CoV facilities.
- comparable meeting room facilities for all the organizations listed above, plus
- a fitness centre with full size strength- and cardio-training rooms, plus
- a gym as large as the current MOCC gym, plus
- room for expansion as Marpole’s population grows?
- In summary: Residents of south and west Marpole need ready access to good facilities but it does not follow that facilities in north central Marpole must be reduced to achieve this. CoV can build new facilities on Granville St and retain the current location of the community centre.
We have an opportunity to create robust community facilities for all of Marpole with developer Community Amenity Contributions. Renew, replace and add on, but don’t reduce.
Status of Community Centre Renewal as at 22nd May 2014
- A start date to begin the planning process for the community centre renewal has not yet been determined.
- Facilities to be addressed in the forthcoming plan include: Community Centre, Library, Neighbourhood House, and Family Place.
- Key external stakeholders (in addition to resident and business associations) include: Parks Board, Library Board, and City of Vancouver.
- The ity planners say that technical work needs to be done before a proposal can be brought forward.
- City Planner Jim Bailey is available to attend MOCA Board meetings.
Status of Community Centre Renewal as at 1st October 2014
The previous capital plan assigned $10 million to MOCC renewal. This has been removed from the 2015-2018 Capital Plan, approved by Park Board and City Council, which relegates MOCC to being an “emerging priority” even though MOCC renewal fully emerged as a priority many years ago.
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