Vancouver park board approves rooftop park concept in Oakridge Centre redevelopment

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      Vancouver has moved one step closer to having its first rooftop park.

      Last night, the park board voted in favour a staff recommendation to approved this concept in the QuadReal Property Group and Westbank Corp. redevelopment of Oakridge Centre.

      It was designed by Henriquez Architects and it hasn't come without controversy.

      Some area residents, including former COPE park board chair Anita Romaniuk, feel that placing a park on top of a shopping centre is not in the best interests of seniors in the community.

      The park board will own the 3.65-hectare public park. About 0.7 hectares will be  a ground-level park area. This will be connected to the larger section of the park that will be placed on top of the mall.

      "This innovation in park design will offer a unique experience for existing and new residents in the area and will act as a destination park for the rest of the city," the report to the board states. "It will be designed and operated to look, feel and function as a part of the Park Board's system with equal access for all."

      According to a report to the park board, the redeveloped Oakridge Centre will eventually have 10 towers, with the tallest being 44 storeys. There will also be three mid-rise buildings with commercial, office, and residential units.

      The plan calls for more than 2,600 residential units. Of those, 290 will be market rental and another 290 will be social housing.

      Community amenities will include library space, a childcare facility, and a new civic centre.

      The civic centre is being provided at no cost by the developer and will include a community centre and seniors centre.

      QuadReal Property Group is a Vancouver-based company with a $24.5-billion portfolio, which is owned by B.C. Investment Management Corporation. It invests pension funds on behalf of B.C. public-sector workers.

      Westbank Corp. is also based in Vancouver and its projects include Telus Garden, Shangri-La Vancouver, Woodward's, and Vancouver House.