YVR is ‘totally out of control,’ Councillor says
Updated: July 18, 2012 9:12 AM
Richmond city council blasted a luxury outlet mall planned by airport officials, promising Monday a legal probe of their authority before shovels hit the ground.
“They really should stick to the core business,” said Coun. Derek Dang. “They’re not headed in the right direction as far as we’re concerned as a community and as a city.”
Vancouver Airport Authority’s board of directors has approved a plan to prepare a 21.5-hectare (53-acre) site along Russ Baker Way for a 459,600-square-foot retail mall. The land is controlled by the airport, but is located three kilometres away from the terminal on Russ Baker Way, between the Dinsmore Bridge and BCIT Aerospace Campus.
But civic politicians, who have no authority on airport lands, have concerns, chief among them are land use, traffic impact and design. The mall is also a diversion from the City Centre area plan, which concentrates commercial growth in the No. 3 Road corridor.
“It’s basically a mall with a sea of parking around it. Would we let any mall owner anywhere in Richmond these days do that?” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “Given what we’ve done for Aberdeen, given what we’ve done with IKEA…surely that’s the contemporary design, not this sea of parking.”
Brodie said the airport authority spent $300 million on its share of the Canada Line, only to plan a retail mall that doesn’t support it. And despite the promise of a shuttle bus connecting the line with the mall, Brodie doesn’t believe Prada shoppers will line up for transit.
On Monday council formalized its opposition to the plan, and asked staff to obtain a legal opinion regarding the airport’s mandate to approve it. Council is demanding a meeting with the airport authority board, and also wants the ear of local MPs and federal Transport Minister Denis Lebel, the politician ultimately responsible for airport activities.
City policy planning manager Terry Crowe noted the mall’s design includes a “hostile” exterior, where a service road, hidden by fencing, surrounds a mall marooned in a parking lot. What’s unclear is what form retail signs—directing traffic to the mall—could take, staff noted.
Metro Vancouver planners have also attacked the plan, saying it’s a diversion from the Regional Growth Strategy.
Coun. Harold Steves called the design “yesterday’s thinking.” He said the airport authority, like the federal arms-length agency Port Metro Vancouver, are going too far.
“The two authorities are totally in unison in attacking our regional plan, and I think the only way we’re going to deal with it is to go after both of them head on,” he said. “We need local people having a major say in the running of the Vancouver Airport Authority and the port authority. Both of these two major government agencies are totally out of control.”
Coun. Evelina Halsey-Brandt said she remembers when Transport Canada handed gave the Vancouver Airport Authority control of the airport in 1992—but doesn’t remember the authority’s mandate to include retail mall development.
“I was around when that happened, and I believe this goes way past what we were led to believe,” she said.
Vancouver Airport Authority officials announced last month that site preparation work for the mall begins in August, and Phase 1 of the mall—97 stores—would open in fall of 2014.
The authority, which commissioned its own traffic study, says traffic impact would be “minimal,” noting the mall would open after the morning rush.
The mall is among a number of development plans or proposals on the airport-controlled island.
The airport authority has preliminary plans to build a 250-room hotel and business park next to Templeton Station, and a new 700,000-square-foot Canada Post processing facility is under construction on Ferguson Road.
In addition, officials announced in January $1.8 billion in improvements planned for the next decade, including 700 metres of corridors and moving walkways, new high-speed baggage systems, upgrades to the domestic terminal building and runway safety enhancements.
ROTFLMAO……Talk about “the Pot” calling the Kettle “black”.
A-L-L levels of Gov’t are out on control.That is a given.
This is major league PISSING match.
Translation ? Richmond Council is SHITTING BRICKS……knowing full well that this Mall , being built in during the start of a certifiable ECONOMIC DEPRESSION, …..the likes of which may be UNparalled in history, …..may be the Death Knell of much of Richmond’s retail-commercial base. You can blatantly sense the fear in the quoted comments of Richmond Council members.
In essence ,we have YVR, …..which for all intents and purposes is an UNaccountable Federal Gov’t enterprise,( …….ALL Gov’ts are all seriously HARD UP to generate revenue regardless of the “Big Picture” collateral damage) now engaging in another venture that will rape and pillage the given local business locale. There is no real difference between THIS Mall and the planned Tsawassen First Nation Mall, built on a jurisdiction that will ultimately “rape and pillage” Ladner and Tsawassen retailers.
In other words, “Ottawa INC.” could care less how one of its subsidiaries affects a microcosm of Canadian citizens.
Why should YOU, as a Richmond Resident care ?….
………Because in an evolving economic environment ……whereby Richmond businesses will struggle, …..another nail in the coffin will impact we, the Richmond ciitzens……as the $$$ fly East to Ottawa. Thus…. we, the Richmod Citizens are left holding the bag. By that I mean this will disrupt the LOCAL tax base, as limited discretionary funds of the average citizen may be seduced to patronize this new Mall….but the backwash may be higher taxes for the average Richmond citizen.