Panel won’t back Marine Dr. project - Metro US

Panel won’t back Marine Dr. project

A massive housing, commercial and office development proposed for industrial land at the south end of Cambie Street has been narrowly rebuffed by Vancouver’s urban design panel.

In a 5-4 vote Wednesday night, the advisory panel voted not to support Marine Gateway, the largest proposed development outside the downtown in the city’s history.

Some panel members felt it was just too much “mass” for the site, while others felt the development was an opportunity to “put an exclamation point at the end of the Canada Line,” said Brent Toderian, Vancouver’s director of planning.

Marine Gateway features an office building and a 30-storey residential tower above the Marine Drive Canada Line station.

The urban design panel, made up of volunteer professionals, does not decide whether an application is approved, but city planners give its advice weight.

Developers usually opt to make changes and then resubmit the proposal for the panel’s approval, Toderian said.

“Most applicants would prefer not to go to council without the pre-support of the panel,” he said.

The project’s developer, PCI Group, could not be reached on Thursday for comment.

Toderian said the common concern raised by the panel was the orientation of the “high street,” a proposed pedestrian plaza between the project’s two towers.

There were, however, conflicting ideas on the scale of the project.

“Even though we want good mix-use and density for transit-oriented development, the provocative question is: ‘How do we know when big is too big?’”

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