Since its relatively humble beginnings over 5 years ago now, the Cambie Corridor has been a somewhat controversial project. Approved in 2011, the area envisaged a design that would elevate the Cambie Corridor and its neighbouring areas into a community that would link to downtown Vancouver, Richmond and the airport, as well as to newly created jobs and services along the major thoroughfare. As the plan rolls out Phase Two and enters Phase Three, Vancouver prepares for a seismic shift in this often overlooked quarter.
The 19-km line of the Cambie Corridor focuses on 16th Avenue to the Fraser River, just south of SW Marine Drive, and running from Oak to Ontario Street. Phase two of three phases in total focused on arterial sites, approving a vast number of projects that included building on 1.8 M square feet of space, 630 new rental units, 290 social housing units, and 190 senior units. With a focus on families with children, phase two of the plan also includes 143 childcare spaces housed in 3 main facilities, along with parks and elementary schools.
Arguably the most ambitious part of the Cambie Corridor however will be phase three, which will focus on 57th Ave south and also happens to be the district with the lowest median household income at $52,000 annually. Here the city of Vancouver has proposed to build a $2 billion rapid transit line, along with a bus and bike network that will connect residents to local businesses and create a sort of neighbourhood hub. Described as “reimagining the suburbs,” the Cambie Corridor is following suit with a number of other neighbourhoods that are challenging our ideas of what it means to live outside the city centre.
Huge building plans are also in the works and the proposed housing is primarily ground-oriented such as triplexes, duplexes, single-family and laneway homes. According to a recent post on Vancouvermarket.ca, a number of developments are currently taking place along the Corridor, including:
- 50-Unit Apartment Building at the Southwest corner of Cambie & King Edward
- 4-Level Townhouse Project near Oakridge
- 15-Unit Residential Building at Cambie & 32nd Ave
- 74-Unit Residential Building at Cambie & West 31st
- 42-Unit Rental Apartment Building at 431-455 West King Edward Avenue
- 8-Storey Condo Development at Northwest corner of Cambie & West King Edward Ave
The latter of the list is also known as Cambie Star and was sold in 2011 adjacent to the King Edward Canada Line station. With part of the building actually above the station entrance, Cambie Street will have the good fortune to receive a number of ground floor commercial units along with the residential units. Together with additional plazas, landscaping in the area, and improvements to pedestrianized sidewalks, phase three is working hard to increase liveability in these areas and create neighbourhoods where residents needn’t travel far to meet their daily needs.
As a recent article in the Georgia Straight pointed out, there are those who have concerns about how the massive overhaul will affect the neighbourhoods within the Cambie Corridor. The Straight cited a local organization called The Riley Park South Cambie Community Vision Group whose chair has expressed some worries over affordability and traffic congestion.
Though there’s no doubt that the housing ‘sweep’ throughout the area will cause some major disturbances as construction and development continues, in a city where the average home is so far out of reach for the majority it’s nice to see that Vancouver is reinvesting in its housing and, more importantly, it’s population.
It’s been a long time coming.