Proposed Oakridge Centre redevelopment draws opposition

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      Vancouver city council will vote at its next meeting as to whether it will consider a tower height of up to 45 storeys at Oakridge Centre, after hearing from over 20 speakers about the proposed redevelopment of the site Wednesday (May 29).

      Many of those speakers expressed opposition to aspects of the proposal, including the building height. Resident Heather Wye said the rezoning would have “an enormous effect” on people that live in the area.

      “It will truly be a significant impact,” she said.

      Tracey Moir of the group Oakridge Langara Area Residents expressed concern about the proposed departure from a 2007 policy statement for Oakridge Centre, which permits towers of up to 24 storeys.

      “We suggest if you wish to see the major components, those which are the most controversial, set aside, please refer this item back to staff to develop a new policy, with the rigour and time required for the single largest development in our city,” she said. “To do otherwise blesses the key components, including density, height, rooftop space.”

      Colleen McGuinness, the co-chair of the City of Vancouver’s senior’s advisory committee, told council the city’s outreach on the proposed development “falls short”.

      “The community and our committee have simply not had the necessary time to absorb the implications of this report, and to thoughtfully formulate responses,” she said.

      “This is the most important project in the city, with potentially great and long-lasting impact on the quality of life for seniors, not to mention setting a precedent for other development.”

      Oakridge store owner Boris Chenkis spoke in favour of the proposed rezoning.

      “We are excited about it, but we ask you to expedite as much as you can the decision-making process so we can re-energize Oakridge and make it part of the community again,” he said.

      Staff recommendations call for city council to consider an “intensification” of the Oakridge Centre site beyond what was considered in the 2007 policy statement, to include increased residential, office and retail space.

      City staff said the final built form proposed for the centre will be subject to additional public consultation and a public hearing process. 


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      May 30, 2013 at 11:04am

      This "consultation" is a pointless act of political theatre: the developers are Vision donors so they will get exactly what has been agreed to in private meetings. There will be a pro forma rejection of some aspects of the proposal, simply to maintain the fiction that there is discussion involving the public. Vision have shown us they are masters at controlling their media coverage: east side they talk about "social justice," west side they are "green business people but reality is they are first and foremost a party for developers.


      May 30, 2013 at 3:16pm

      Vancouver city residents need to face the facts. If the city is to grow more, it needs to grow upward. This means increased density in transit centres like Oakridge. Single family houses with nice lawns and white picket fences don’t fit in the city anymore. If you need that to be happy, consider moving to White Rock or somewhere else *outside* of Vancouver.


      May 30, 2013 at 4:05pm

      The impact will be “enormous”? “Significant”, even? Great. Tell me why people think this is a bad thing instead.


      May 30, 2013 at 9:38pm

      Cynicism is no substitute for rational argument. Explain why this project is dangerous, destroys an important landmark, or is radically more expensive than a perfectly logical alternative that would deliver similar volumes of new living space. If you just don't like it...well...then you don't like it, but you may have to lump it. Like everyone else.

      As for Vision being particularly bad about approving development, I don't know. Maybe they are the only civic party that would allow building permits. Maybe not though.

      Alan Layton

      May 30, 2013 at 10:30pm

      Regardless if you think that this project is good or bad, 'G' hit the nail on head. I'm living in a neighbourhood that underwent 'consultation' and even though the majority of the people, who voiced their opinion, were against the project, it still went ahead any ways. Vision is slick and very well run. Since the majority of the population is actually doing 'okay', there is very little reason for people to invest much time opposing the city...or any level of government for that matter.

      james green

      May 30, 2013 at 11:46pm

      I have never heard a non developer citizen who lives in any neighbourhood demand or even approach council to allow for more and bigger developements in this city.
      Follow the money folks. Also, we need to determine who in the long term will benefit from these developments, and who will pay for the long term needs that arise from these big developemnts and inceased populations? Who will pay for more policing, schools, parks,transportation, street upgrades and maintenance and more? We need a new partnership PPP,with the development community where the city shares in the profits of these developemnts in the long term. Also we need a community referendum process and a community veto process over these type of developements.
      It should be the people who live in our communities who have control over what is built in their neighbourhoods.
      Let's slow down this growth and be sure the services we require are not out distanced by developments of this size. It's time for a city wide plan that sets the long term future of our city and stop this pop up style growth being approved by a mayor and council whose election campaign expenses are paid for by developers.
      It is time to set a new and controlled future of development in this city. To start with we need to work on the city plan and stop this project until we can decide what the city plan will look like and what the long term impact on the quality of life in this entire city will be.


      May 31, 2013 at 3:58am

      For neighbourhoods that haven’t yet had the “pleasure” here is a quick introduction to how Vision Vancouver works. Vision have already made a backroom deal for this development with one of their top financial supporters. If any member of the public questions it in any way (even if only asking for more information), they will be immediately be labelled a NIMBY, evil, baby killing, and against anything green or good that exists on this planet. A couple of non-profits who have sold their souls for free space will show up and vigorously defend the development. Ordinary citizens who speak in front of city hall will observe councillors paying more attention to their Blackberrys and fingernails, and possibly be referred to as “f*cking hacks.” The only way to influence this project in any way is to forcibly eject Vision (and NPA) in the next election and for the citizens take this city back from the developers. They key is not to waste too much time attempting changing the closed minds of this arrogant council and instead work actively to have them replaced.


      May 31, 2013 at 8:44am

      We all know that this is about giving developer fat cats a lot of cash. Who are those developer fat cats? The people of Quebec apparently. The developer, Ivanhoe Cambridge, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec - the Quebec public pension plan (the Quebec version of the CPP).


      May 31, 2013 at 12:26pm

      @ james green

      Regarding the likelihood that that non developers would beg for development, I for one am greatly in favour of lawful enterprise in our city. I live next to a stretch of Broadway that is finally getting some much needed new investment, boards coming off the windows, the overt drug dealing, neglect and dirt moving away, jobs and taxpayers moving in.

      Neighbourhoods should get a say in how this all happens, of course. Being familiar with a particular area will give background and knowledge about the impact of a substantial new building, whether it will be dangerous, trample a landmark and so on.

      But I have never seen anything in my area declaring that it should never grow, should never bring in new people, should never bring in new business.

      I do see a lot of emotional responses - people do not like new things, really. I am like that too, I get it. But the argument against must be very substantive.

      It is also worth making those arguments. I find the peevishness, the declarations that it is all a done deal, a backroom arrangement, self-defeating - a form of political self-neutering - a washing of the hands. Bah to that. Protest away, but protest intelligently.


      May 31, 2013 at 7:03pm

      "It should be the people who live in our communities who have control over what is built in their neighbourhoods". Homeowners own the plot of land their house is built on. The City of Vancouver belongs to all Vancouverites, present and future. We all paid the taxes for the Canada Line and the less people have to drive to get around in their daily lives, the more we all benefit. Increase your circle of concern, folks. Change may be hard, but change is necessary.