Vancouver's Marpole neighbourhood could soon be home to a new TransLink e-bus service depot, thanks to a new development application filed by the city's transit agency.

Operated by the Coast Mountain Bus Company, the new facility will be used to service a fleet of 300 battery-electric and conventionally-powered buses as TransLink continues to expand its service coverage and capacity.

The fleet of buses assigned to the campus will initially include diesel-hybrid buses and battery-electric buses, but TransLink says the balance will eventually shift towards the latter.

On Thursday, before the new facility plans were revealed, TransLink introduced the first of 15 new Nova LFSe+ electric buses, which can travel 150 km on a single charge and be topped off by over-head charging stations in five minutes, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving approximately $40,000 in fuel costs annually, per bus.

Once fully introduced, the fleet will completely electrify Route 100, which runs from 22nd Street Station to the Marpole Loop. Although the new e-bus was introduced before plans for the service campus were made public, the Nova LFSe+ buses will likely be assigned to the new facility.

Translink vancouver e bus and charging stationThe first of 15 new Nova LFSe+ electric buses. (TransLink)

The new facility, dubbed the Marpole Transit Centre (MTC), would be located at the intersection of Heather Street and West Kent Avenue South, along the Fraser River near the Oak Street Bridge -- just a 10-minute walk from the Canada Line SkyTrain's Marine Drive Station.

The site is approximately 20.4 acres and is currently a vacant lot with M-2 industrial zoning, which is reserved for heavy industrial uses that are necessary for the city, but best situated away from residential districts. As such, the site does not need to be rezoned, and all that is required is approval from the Development Permit Board.

The proposed MTC includes a three-storey operations building used for bus storage and e-bus charging, a two-storey bus maintenance building, a single-storey fueling facility, a single-storey bus washing and detailing facility, a tire storage shed, and an entry access tower. The site will also include a small "vault pull" (revenue deposit) station, as well as a pump station just outside the site, which TransLink says will be for the City of Vancouver.

Translink vancouver marpole transit centre site map 1024x595Site map for Marpole Transit Centre. (TransLink)

TransLink notes that although the site is flat, it is located within a City-designated Flood Plain, and will therefore need to be built atop a 4.6-metre platform to mitigate potential flooding.

Due to the elevation of the site, TransLink says the operations within it will mostly be obscured from public view on the ground level, although it will be viewable when passing by on the elevated SkyTrain.

TransLink Vancouver Marpole Transit Centre(TransLink)

Regarding the design and architecture of the MTC, TransLink says it recognizes the significance of the Fraser River to the Musqueam First Nation and the heritage of the site, and will strive to emphasize that heritage in consultation with the Musqueam First Nation.

"We aim to incorporate Musqueam First Nation culture into our project as an integral component of our design, and we view our entire campus as a canvas onto which it can showcase its values, heritage, and forms of visual expression," TransLink said in its Design Rationale.

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Regarding the surrounding landscape, TransLink says it will also integrate the campus with the Fraser River, including remediation of the shoreline, restoration of riparian habitats, and water run-off management features such as rain gardens and bioswales.

The surface of the site will also use impervious paving as well as an underground storm water system designed to collection potential spills and control the quality of any water discharged to the Fraser River.

The City of Vancouver is accepting public input on the project from now until Friday, March 3, and a virtual open house will be held from Monday, February 13 to Sunday, February 19. A decision on the project from the Development Permit Board is then expected to come on Monday, May 1.