Mayor calls in RCMP to Remove Speaker at Public Meeting

The Mayor called in the RCMP once again at last night’s City Council meeting when he was upset with the public statement made by this senior. The Mayor and developer (who sits on the OCP Committee himself) and Lynne Sinclair objected to the statement. No White Rock citizens in the audience found the remarks out of line and supported Margaret Woods. Audience members questioned Mr. Baldwin’s demand that Margaret apologize or leave. Mr. Baldwin refused to answer questions from the audience about what specific words he objected to.
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After an extended recess in which the Mayor waited for Margaret Woods to leave after having been denied an opportunity to speak further to the matter, the Mayor then instructed staff to call in the RCMP to remove Ms. Woods, and two constables arrived quickly.

RCMP Arrive on Mayor Baldwin's Orders    RCMP Arrive on Mayor Baldwin's Orders to Access the Situation

To the credit of the RCMP constables, they refused the Mayor’s request to remove Margaret Woods. She had said nothing wrong and had the right to state her opinion in a public meeting.

Mayor Baldwin was visibly upset during the Sept 28 City Council public meeting when Ms. Woods stood her ground to excercise her right to her opinion during the public hearing on a proposed Monster Home on Marine Drive, and the Police refused to take action against a member of the public that had done nothing wrong. With the unexpected recess over, the council meeting continued without incident or further drama. Mayor Visibly Upset After RCMP Refused to Take Action

Kudo’s to Margaret Woods for standing up for our right to stating a personal opinion at a City Council Public Meeting, and Kudo’s to the RCMP for coming so quickly and handling the whole mess so professionally!

White Rock can be proud of our citizens and of our RCMP.
Unfortunately, the Mayor’s behaviour was not something to be proud of. Mayor Baldwin should apologize to Ms. Woods and to the citizens of White Rock for his rash and bullying behaviour towards a member of the public. As least that is our opinion. What’s yours?

So what was all the fuss about?

As a quick summary: Margaret questioned why a Western Red Cedar on the property was being preserved. Given the already poor track record of clear cutting trees in White Rock by both developers and the City of White Rock, was the Western Red Cedar actually going to be protected, or was it just being preserved during the approval process as an excuse to build up the ground level by an additional 7 feet, thus giving the owner an additional 7 feet of improved view beyond what current zoning allows?

That sounds like a valid question and concern expressed by a citizen of White Rock during a public meeting on the proposed 12000 sq-ft home on Marine Drive overlooking the tracks. Other concerns expressed that night included concerns with the large amount that the house and pool were set back towards the slope and whether an assessment had been made on excess loading on the slope and landslide risk. I also mentioned that in 2013, Mayor and Council made maximum heights relative to Natural Historical land heights in Omnibus Bylaw 2000, and thus even if the developer added 7 feet of height to his property to protect the tree, this does not allow him an additional 7 feet in height according to the Mayor’s own bylaw.

Hope that helps. This is paraphrasing from the meeting. May have missed or misinterpreted something. The video from the City Council meeting is the most accurate way to hear what was said.

Your amuse-bouche for the day. A prime example of why you should never,ever pay any attention to campaign promises.

An excellent post from Laila Yuile about Elections and Candidates making empty promises that they never plan to keep. In White Rock, we know this all too well as Mayor Baldwin has broken the majority of this election promises with this first year. He promised to preserve single family areas yet 5 towers are now planned for just such an area at Thrift and Oxford. Wayne promised more open local government and show more respect for the public, yet at last nights Council Meeting he called in the RCMP to remove a speaker who, during her comments at the Public Hearing on a proposed 12000 sq-ft monster home, stated her opinion about the project which the Mayor did not like. So much for respecting the public and our single family areas and maintaining White Rock’s unique character.

White Rock’s frequent In-Camera Council Meetings illegal according to Legal Expert

White Rock’s frequent In-Camera Council Meetings illegal according to Legal Expert Raymond Young who announced this at this week’s UBCM Conference.

Vision Councillor Raymond Louie surprized

At this week’s annual meeting of the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), Lawyer Raymond Young, founder of one of B.C.’s best-known firms specializing in municipal law, stated very clearly that “If Mayor and Council are meeting before each council meeting and they’ve got the agenda out two or three days before the council meeting and they know what the issues will be … all of that is a council meeting, and it is an unlawful meeting,” he said, especially if they decide who will make a motion, second a motion and lead in discussion.

That sounds exactly like what happens in White Rock prior to every public City Council meeting. Mayor Baldwin has consistently held more private in-camera City Council meetings than public ones this year, thus breaking his 2014 election promise of more open and transparent local government.

Are such frequent in-camera meetings illegal? According to Municipal Law Legal Expert Raymond Young who spoke to City Council Members from across BC, including Councillor Helen Fathers who attended the UBMC conference, the answer is YES!

Holding in-camera meetings before each Council Meeting is not legal.
At least that is my interpretation of Raymond Young’s speech. Perhaps I am wrong.

Mayor Baldwin makes a habit of telling citizens that he has a legal opinion that supports his various claims, yet he has never produced a written copy of any such legal opinion, despite many requests from White Rock Citizens to do so. Strange.

Perhaps Mayor Baldwin should listen to Lawyer Raymond Young’s legal opinion and stop holding In-Camera City Council meetings? At least Mr.Young’s legal opinion is both well documented and well respected, and also publicly available for all to see.

I challenge Mayor Baldwin and City Council to seek out a formal legal opinion by Raymond Young on the legality of the regular In-Camera meetings held prior to each Council Meeting. This should include reviewing the secret in-camera minutes to access if the stated reasons for secrecy apply or not, and publicly presenting his legal opinion for all of White Rock to See.

Read the details in the Vancouver Sun article here and decide for yourself.

Federal Politics – Reject Fear and Vote based on Track Record

If you care about White Rock Densification or too many Coal Trains ruining our Waterfront, then think carefully about who you vote for Federally. Federal Politics affects White Rock now more than ever. After years of neglect, White Rock and South Surrey deserves to have better representation in Ottawa. Vote Smart. Voting matters.

The recent flyer by Conservative Candidate Dianne Watts is a case-study in creating fear in an effort to get votes. We know that Harper has no shame, but Dianne Watts should have known better to try and defend this assault on our collective intelligence.
White Rock Conservation Politics of FearDianne was a great Mayor for Surrey in many ways, but her track record shows that she is definitely pro-development and pro-high-density. Surrey has seen a huge increase in crime and shootings due to its growing pain launched during Dianne Watt’s years as Mayor and continues with her apprentice Linda Hepner. We do not need more of the same here in White Rock and South Surrey. And make no mistake, Conservatives look to the West Coast as a place to invest in the real-estate market, making money for themselves while driving up prices and density for citizens who live here.

A vote for Watts is a vote for Harper. Changes made by the Harper Government to promote Fossil Fuels helped push more and more Coal Trains past our beach. The Harper conservatives created Port Metro Vancouver and PMV is run by political appointees who answer to no one, giving White Rock no say in how many Coal Trains blast by our little town each day. Before PMV was created, the port was run by a board that included locally elected representatives from all affected cities. Before PMV was formed, the Ports listened to citizens and acted on our behalf.

Reject Fear. More Canadians are killed by Moose each year than by terrorists. Perhaps if Canada stuck to Peace Keeping Roles rather than bombing raids in Syria, we might not have to worry about Jihadists in our bedrooms. And all that money spent on bombs and fighter jets and the $800M spent on Conservative PR could instead be spent on Veterans, Hospitals, Policing, Schools, Pensioners, Highways, Bridges, Rapid Transit and of course Refugees like little Alan Kurdi whose family applied for refugee status in Canada and were rejected.

I also cannot recommend voting Liberal if you want to keep White Rock from growing too fast. While Joy Davies was an excellent Liberal Candidate who listened to resident’s concerns about excessive growth, the Higginbotham family is well known in White Rock for advocating for developers and more density. We do not need an MP who will advocate for even more densification in White Rock.

Federally, MPs have done nothing to monitor and control foreign real-estate investment nor enforce laws against international money laundering schemes. UBC Professor Dr. Ley has shown that the Foreign Millionaires buying real-estate in BC is the key factor causing Vancouver’s spiraling housing costs and current housing crisis with a near 100% correlation. We need an intelligent MP who understands that Federal Policies and Enforcement of International Law affects us all, including White Rock.

Who you vote for Federally will make a huge difference to White Rock this year. In this Federal Election, after years of neglect by Conservative MP Russ Hiebert, it is time that conservative White Rock realize that the Conservative Party is no longer conservative at all, but instead a Harper Party-of-One focused on Fear and Fossil Fuels. We can do better.

As much as I admire Dianne Watts in her stance against the South Surrey Casino, as highlighted in the NoCasinoSurrey website and No Casino in South Surrey Facebook page, Dianne Watts, like Hiebert before her, will have little say in a Harper government. Her recent flyer, apparently produced in Ottawa without her consent, proves that to be true.

Read the excellent follow up Editorial about this by Peace Arch News Editor Lance Peverley. Makes good entertaining reading!
White Rock Politics

Personally, I plan to vote Green. I think Elizabeth May is an intelligent articulate leader with a strong moral compass and unimpeachable integrity.

Many respect May’s leadership but feel that their vote will be lost in White Rock by voting Green. If you feel this way, I recommend voting for NDP Candidate Pixie Hobby. While Mulclair’s leadership has been less than stellar by supporting invasive bills based on fear such as C-51 which allows the government to spy on Canadians without limit or court orders.

I believe NDP Candidate Pixie Hobby is a strong and honest candidate with integrity and the best interests of White Rock residents as her focus. Mr. Hobby would make an excellent MP for representing the needs of White Rock and South Surrey in my opinion. In her statement regarding Dianne Watts’ Flyer of Fear, Ms. Hobby made it clear that instead of warmongering, she would focus on local issues such as fighting crime and adding more police to makes us all safer. That makes more sense to me than having Diane Watts help Mr. Harper keep our bedrooms safe.

Texor withdraws Application for North Bluff Mega-Tower After Listening to Community Concerns

The announcement that Texor has withdrawn the application is good news indeed. Our thanks to Howard Steiss, Texor’s VP, who shows a better understanding of White Rock’s resident’s needs than our own mayor and his gang of four Condo-Coalition councillors Meyer, Sinclair, Knight, and Lawrence.

While Steiss said that there wasn’t one specific concern that prompted Texor to pull out of its plans, he said he recognized that there might be a better development option for that particular neighbourhood. “Obviously, there’s a lot of sensitivity in White Rock, and we respect that,” he said. “We just have to work together with the community to find a solution.”
Texor Withdraws Application

Well said Mr. Steiss! Development in White Rock can be a very good thing! When developers listen to the concerns of residents and local business, we can create something excellent. When done right, development benefits everyone and creates a better community for us all in the long term. That is what the OCP is supposed to be for!

More good news from Monday night’s Council Meeting. The new Regional Growth Strategy Population figures have been cut in half to 3,500 in additional population by 2041. Director of planning Karen Cooper told council the city should be able to accommodate this growth within the city’s town centre.

Strange indeed that Mayor Baldwin seemed surprised by these changes, since he gets paid to sit on the Metro Vancouver Board that sets these figures, and should have reviewed these change which are based on Baldwin’s own recommendations approved by Council in 2013.

In the Mayor’s own words: “it’s something that’s very complicated”

Monday’s City Council Meeting – Kudo’s to Some, Not so much for others

A very successful council meeting on Monday! The Community held a fantastic Rally of over 100 citizens who made it clear that “We are the Boss” and want our City by the Sea back under Citizen Control. The Peace Arch News article by Mesilla Smalley was excellent but held back a few punches too.Peace Arch News Photo - Residents Rally for Baldwin to Resign - Melissa Smalley Photo

The Metro Vancouver Planning Managers confirmed (several times) that White Rock controls its own grown targets through the OCP, which they emphasized IS the Law, while the Regional Growth Strategy is JUST a guideline. They also reduced the growth forecast for White Rock from 7000 to 3500. Kudo’s to Councillor Helen Fathers for seeking clarification and getting it very clearly stated from the Metro Van reps. No Kudo’s to Mayor Baldwin who tried to lead the witness and get them to say that the RGS was legally binding, which the Metro Van team made clear that it was not.

Kudo’s to City Planning Manager Karen Cooper who confirmed that given the new numbers, all required growth can and should occur in the designated city center high density zone specified by the OCP. Councillor Grant Meyer and Lynne Sinclair asked for clarification in an attempt to justify further future developments in various single family areas outside of the downtown core. No kudo’s to them, but kudo’s to Councillor Bill Lawrence and Megan McKnight who remained silent and appeared to fully accept the new direction. Let’s hope their votes reflect that in the future!

CAO Dan Bottrill confirmed that Councillor Dave Chesney was improperly censured earlier this year based on the Respectful Workplace Policy 405, which at the time did not apply to apply to City Council members, and thus could not be used to justify a Censure. Congrats and Kudo’s to Councillor Chesney for clarifying this important point with Mr. Bottrill and the City.

And great news that Texor has withdrawn their application to build a 15 story Mega-Condo at the Corner of North Bluff and Nichol. This might not be the last that we have heard of this development, but we applaud Texor for taking the concerns of residents seriously and withdrawing their application for now.

And finally, a warm welcome to our new RCMP Constable who attended the City Council meeting on Council’s request. He is new to White Rock and we appreciate his support and protection. While the constable appeared to enter council chambers on queue when Baldwin publicly insulted residents, kudo’s to the constable for quickly leaving Council Chambers when requested to do so by the general public.

A Small Victory – Texor has withdrawn their Mega-Condo Tower Development Proposal

It was announced at last night’s White Rock council meeting that TEXOR has pulled their development application for a 15 storey high rise on 16th avenue at Nichol Street in White Rock. Check out the White Rock Sun for a recap by Councillor Dave Chesney.

Texor 15 Story Proposal