Oakridge development plan causes differing opinions among community members

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About 100 residents attended an open house on Friday to learn more about population density, strains on existing infrastructure and traffic concerns.
About 100 residents attended an open house on Friday to learn more about population density, strains on existing infrastructure and traffic concerns. Photo: Bronwyn Scott

Oakridge Centre and the surrounding neighbourhood is pegged for major transformation if developers have their way.

The project, at Oakridge Centre at 41st Ave. and Cambie St., would introduce thousands of residential, commercial and office spaces in 13 towers with the largest standing 45 storeys tall.

The development is being marketed as an integrated, sustainable community that would include green spaces such as a tai chi plaza, pedestrian walkways and bicycle routes.

Open house attracts community members with differing opinions

Hundreds of residents attended an open house at Oakridge Auditorium on Friday to learn more about the project.

“I came along 41st Ave. on the bus tonight. We’re behind the cars, behind the cars, behind the cars, and where are you going to put [thousands of] more cars? That’s why I’m here,” said resident Frank Jameson.

Others shared similar concerns.

“It’s going to change the neighbourhood pretty significantly and the question I think people have, is, well, why? Who benefits from this?” asked resident Michael Grant.

“I know it will benefit developers. The real issue is, do the people benefit?”

Project officials say the development won’t affect traffic, will create jobs

Proponents of the project, however, say traffic won’t greatly affect residents because of the way the system is being designed.

“All the access to the mall is going to be either 41st or Cambie, so people will be discouraged to use these [residential] streets to enter the mall,” said transportation analyst Kati Tamashiro.

No major changes are slated for 41st or Cambie, which are already at traffic capacity, according to Tamashiro.

An underground connection to the mall including multi-tiered parking is proposed, as well as new bike routes and a pedestrian boulevard. The Canada Line will also help with keeping cars off the roads, she said.

“We’re introducing another element of outdoor mall,” said Darren Burns of Stantec, one of the firms marketing the development.

“[It will] broaden the scope of things that can happen at the pedestrian level—retail cafes, shops—those kinds of things that are outside the realm of just traditional retail. There will be quite a large job creation as well.”

Reported by Bronwyn Scott 

Video by Cara McKenna and Michelle Gamage

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