New Oakridge plan: keeps tall towers, adds social housing

The developers behind a plan for a mega-development of the Oakridge mall will present its revised proposal at an open house tonight.
A company rendering of the new re-development. (CBC)

The developers behind a plan for a mega-development of the Oakridge Centre mall will present its revised proposal at an open house tonight. 

Westbank Projects Corporation is charged with redeveloping the 28 acres of land at 41st Avenue and Cambie Street for real estate company Ivanhoe Cambridge, which owns the land.

The new iteration of the plan has not changed when it comes to the number of towers, which remains at 13, nor for the height of the towers with the maximum height staying at 45 storeys. 

What has changed is the number of social housing units. The previous plan called for 150 units of social housing, whereas the new plan includes 280. Westbank has also increased the proposed size of the civic centre that would be included in the redevelopment. That centre was originally slated to be 45,000 square feet, but now sits at 70,000 square feet. 

Rhiannon Mabberley, a project manager with Westbank Projects Corporation, says community input, positive and negative, drove this latest iteration of the proposed project.

"We have seen a fair amount of support that we're very confident in, we do feel that the support doesn't get the same media attention that the criticism gets," she said. 

"Our critics, I'm sure, will be out at the open houses and we look forward to speaking with them and working through their issues."

Tracey Moir, founder of the organization Oakridge-Langara Area Residents, has been one of the project's most vocal opponents. Despite some of the changes, she still has her misgivings about the project.

"We need schools, we need more recreation, more medical care, more daycare facility," said Moir. 

She says the amount of public consultation on the proposed development has been lacking as well. 

The plan to redevelop the Oakridge Centre mall would double the amount of retail space to 700,000 square feet and add more than 2,800 housing units above the mall. 

The process to redevelop the Oakridge mall began in November of 2012 when the development company made its initial submission

The first of two open houses will be held Thursday night from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. PT at 650 West 41st Avenue in the former Zellers location. The second open house is Saturday, Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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