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Oakridge opponent gets message out

Resident wary of city plan to build towers up to 45 storeys
condo banner
Danny Kornfeld, a resident of the Oakridge area, displayed a banner from his condo protesting the proposed towers.

Danny Kornfeld doesn’t want to see Oakridge Centre transformed into Vancouver’s answer to Burnaby’s Metrotown.

On Aug. 11, he showed his opposition to the proposed redevelopment by posting a banner reading “Noakridge,” including the address for a Facebook group, between the fifth and sixth floors of the mall’s little-known condominiums. 

“Everybody thinks this is just an extension of the office tower. City councillors didn’t know we lived here,” said Kornfeld, a resident of the Oakridge area since 1973 who moved to the 32-unit Terraces a year-and-a-half ago.

Kornfeld won’t be surprised if Oakridge landlord Ivanhoe Cambridge sends a letter ordering the removal of his 22-foot by four-foot banner. Ultimately, he fears the Westbank Development proposal to build 13 towers, ranging from 18  to 45 storeys, will be rubber-stamped by the Vision Vancouver majority city council late this fall.

“I think they’re putting the needs of the developer before everybody,” Kornfeld said.

Ivanhoe Cambridge did not respond with comment by deadline.

Henriquez Partners Architects, on behalf of Westbank and Ivanhoe Cambridge, applied in October 2012 for the commercial, office, and residential redevelopment that would include 2,818 residential units.

The Terraces is at the northeast corner of the site, adjacent to the Canada Line station, in the top three floors of a mixed-use, six-storey building. A 43-storey tower is proposed south of the Terraces and a 45-storey tower is proposed to the west.

“The existing residential development most impacted is the Terraces,” said the city’s May 21 Issues and Directions report on the Oakridge Centre rezoning.

“The context of the Terraces will be significantly altered by the proposed redevelopment, going from an expansive, relatively suburban setting to a distinctly urban one with associated adjacencies and shadow impacts. While acknowledging the degree of change, staff believes that the shadowing impacts and adjacencies are acceptable.”

For strata council president Heather Wye, fighting city hall is both new and daunting.

“It’s been great to have Danny, he thinks on his feet and he can focus on stuff,” Wye said.

“Many of us are very concerned that the city is building a second downtown in the middle of a predominantly single-family neighbourhood.”

Oakridge is not alone as a target for tower developers. A 31-storey tower is planned for Joyce-Collingwood and a 35-floor tower is planned near the Canada Line’s Marine Drive Station. A 70-storey tower is proposed for Brentwood Town Centre in Burnaby.

B.C.‘s tallest tower is the Shangri-la in downtown Vancouver at 58 storeys.

Westbank Projects Corp. donated $11,705.70 to Vision Vancouver for the 2011 campaign. The company is developing the 53-storey Telus Garden tower in downtown Vancouver.

If approved, Oakridge would be remade for a second time. The original shopping mall, Vancouver’s first, opened in 1959 and was renovated in 1984. The 28.5 acre site includes 3,000 parking spots. A 2007 redevelopment proposal was shelved because of the recession.