Our City of Disrespect

February 22, 2014

I’m sure that most of you by now will be aware of the proposed massive re-development of Oakridge.  This is a a development that will change the centre of our city for ever if it goes ahead, with a forest of huge towers and the first ever “public” park situated on the roof of private building.

Te redevelopment is described by the City in the following terms:

  • Two floors of Retail and Service Uses, which would double the amount of retail on site;
  • Over 424,000 sq. ft. of Office Uses;
  • 2,914 Residential Units (including 290 units of social housing and 290 units of market rental housing);
  • Eleven residential towers with heights between 19 and 44 storeys and three mid-rise buildings between 9 and 13 storeys in height.

The whole thing is profligacy on a massive scale, designed to feed the profits of the large developers involved, and as a way of introducing downtown-style high-rises into central Vancouver.   The sop is 290 social housing units (the other 290 mentioned are market rental, so no different from all the others) and $140m in “community amenities” which the City should be supplying anyway.

Important though this proposal is, our City Council has decided that public hearings and the public display of the amended by-laws should go ahead at a time that is as inconvenient as possible to most Vancouverites, thus depriving them of their right to speak to the issue directly.

Public Hearings begin at 2:00pm on Monday 10th March at City Hall.  The vast majority of voting-age Vancouverites are fully employed and thus unable – except at a loss of wages — to attend hearings on a Monday afternoon.  That is no doubt why they call them at that time.  The proposed by-laws will be available at City Hall on weekdays only from 28th February between the hours of 8:30am to 4:30pm.  Once again, exactly when most people will be at their work.

This is deliberate and it is a sign of the extraordinary disrespect in which this Council holds the ordinary men and women of our city.  I am sure it is inconvenient for Council and staff to meet in the evenings and on weekends; but there are just a few of them, and there are hundreds of thousands of us.  Surely our needs should come become theirs.