Transit plaza readied for long-shot chance of a new Canada Line station in South Vancouver

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      Everything from shops and services will be there, except the train.

      A transit plaza is being readied in a major South Vancouver development site for a potential Canada Line station.

      The station was contemplated by the City of Vancouver in its policy statement for the Pearson Dogwood lands.

      Previously owned by Vancouver Coastal Health, most of the 10-hectare property between West 57th and 59th avenues and Cambie and Heather streets was bought by the Onni Group.

      The future station was envisaged by the city to be located at the corner of West 57th Avenue and Cambie Street.

      However, the construction of a new Canada Line station at the site is not part of the long-term plans of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation, and TransLink.

      Just the same, the Onni Group is pushing through with a plan to develop a “transit plaza” at the northeast corner of the Pearson Dogwood lands, classified as Parcel D.

      “A significant public plaza is located at the northeast corner to accommodate the proposed Canada Line station,” according to a design rational submitted to the city.

      The plan for Parcel D includes two 28-storey towers and one 24-storey tower. These will feature commercial uses on ground level, and housing units on upper floors.

      “The transit plaza is connected to the open space network of the Pearson Dogwood site by a generous diagonal walkway,” the design rational document continues. “The walkway, lined with commercial uses, terminates at the southern end of the parcel in a second, larger public plaza.”

      The plaza will be known as Cambie Plaza.

      The space will be connected to the Pearson Plaza and a future city park on the south side of the Pearson Dogwood lands.

      “The Building massing is divided into two half to integrate the Public Rim Pedestrian path created by a generous diagonal walkway animated by the Commercial Retails use, outdoor seating areas and activity around the Transit Station,” the document states.

      The development application for Parcel D is scheduled for review by the city’s urban design panel on July 24 this year.

      The Onni Group has committed $20 million for the construction of the potential Canada Line station.

      However, TransLink advised the city in a letter in 2016 that the project would require more funding.

      As then councillor George Affleck recalled in a motion, TransLink also told the city that “even if the [57th Avenue] station is fully funded by a third party, the implementation timeline is expected to be no less than ten years and may be prolonged”.

      Affleck noted that this is because of the “significant engineering challenges” that TransLink sees in developing the station.

      A city staff report to council in 2017 stated that “construction is anticipated to be technically complex and highly costly”.

      “Should the station not be attainable in the long-term future, the financial contribution towards a future station would be re-allocated to address the amenity priorities identified for Pearson Dogwood and those in and around the Cambie Corridor consistent with the respective public benefit strategies,” the report advised council.