Why am I running for Mayor?
As one of your White Rock City Councillors for the past four years, it has been my honour to serve the community. I am proud of all that we have done together, but there is so much more we can do. It would have been easy for me to run as Councillor again. I have built up a reputation for making strong data driven decisions. I read staff recommendations, but I am able to ask the tough questions to get below the surface and make the right decisions.
While I enjoyed being on Council with Mayor Walker and my other City Councillors, I believe I can provide stronger leadership to get Council and Staff working together to serve our community better.
I have a proven track record of voting according to the Democracy Direct principles of listening to residents, and following my fiduciary duty to vote in the best interests of the city. I make data driven decisions, I listen to residents and local businesses to ensure I understand the issues that affect people the most.
City Hall has become a toxic work environment under Mayor Walker. Staff attrition is at an all time high under Mayor Walker with almost 100% turnover of senior staff during our term as well as about 20% of middle management have left. That’s not right and it is not being addressed.
I believe I have the skills and work experience from working in business at Nortel Network and Amazon for almost 30 years. Let me bring that level of excellence to City Hall. During my 26 years in Nortel as a software engineering leader, I received awards for being on the first Continuous Improvement team in Nortel. We took on the task of improving work productivity and employee morale. When we started, employees spent 4 out of every 8 hours of the day setting up the lab and being unproductive. As a team, we took a deep dive into the processes involved and gathered data on where the time was being wasted. We worked together to make small changes to the process and measured the improvement to ensure we were going in the right direction. It was a team effort full of collaboration and team morale climbed as we started to see improvements. After a few months, instead of spending 4 hours to set up for the day, employees set up time was reduced to 5 minutes. The company saved money, we delivered to the customers faster, and employee satisfaction went way up. I believe I can bring that same spirit of cooperation and process improvement to improve city service and boost employee job satisfaction and retention. A win-win for staff and for our residents.
As your next Mayor, I want to focus on improving our city and creating a better community feel and quality of life for our residents and local businesses.
Our Official Community Plan (OCP) talks about Connecting to the Water. I would like to do more to help seniors and other residents travel easily between the waterfront and town center. In 2019, our current City Council met with residents to determine what our taxpayers priorities were. The top three were: Reduce OCP Maximum Heights, provide clean drinking water, and build a gondola or funicular connecting the waterfront to town center.
As a Council, we passed my motion to reduce building heights in town center from a maximum of 29 stories down to 12. We also opened the Water Treatment Plant started by the previous Council and our water has never been cleaner. But we made no progress on other priorities such as the creation of the gondola or restoration of solid waste pickup for stratas. I want to change that and as your Mayor, I will ensure we get these things done and more!
Why a Gondola to the waterfront?
We now have a large population in town center, but finding parking during the Summer can be almost impossible. Imagine being able to walk from town center, take a gondola near where the farmer’s market is, and take a scenic trip down to Marine Drive near the pier.
It can be paid for through our existing CACs and grants from TransLink to enable people to travel to and from the beach without using their cars. Imagine being able to take a gondola from the beach up to the Farmer’s market using a gondola. All those living in the town center could use the gondola to support our marine drive restaurants or enjoy the beach, without the hassle of driving and all the exhaust created as people search for a parking spot. Less cars means better air and less noise and pollution. Let’s make things happen White Rock.
Vote Scott Kristjanson for Mayor of White Rock.
I may be last on the ballot, but I hope I will be first on your mind on voting day Oct 15th. It is your city by the sea, and with Scott as your Mayor, you’ll definitely have your say. Together, we can get good things done.
- Stick to reduced heights and density within our OCP. No spot zoning.
- Ensure we have clean Drinking Water at a lower cost
- Improve City Services
- Rebuilding the relationships between City Council and Staff
- Restoration of Solid Waste Pickup for Strata’s and Restaurants
- Review and guarantee reasonable timelines for single family home approvals
- Single family home approvals used to take 1 month in White Rock, under Mayor Walker it now takes 2+ years. My goal in my next term is to reduce this to 6 months with the eventually goal to get it back to one month in most cases.
- Use our cash reserves of $17M to improve our infrastructure
- This money was paid by developers from the last council for bonus height. Let’s use the money paid to use by developers to make our city better. It has been sitting unused for 4 years. That’s your money. Let’s create a plan to use it to make our city awesome!
- $4M in affordable housing
- $3M for the Helen Fathers Memorial Walkway
- $10M left to still available for other amenities. I will work with residents to create a plan!
- Improve our infrastructure, roads, and parks
- Reopen Coldicutt Ravine
- Create an Arts Hub to replace the Landmark Gallery
- Build a gondola to connect Town Center to Marine Drive
- Rebuild the West wharf on the pier
- Support Local Businesses and help them rebuild after the pandemic
- Help seniors stay in their homes by reducing taxes and retaining older affordable rentals
- Reduce taxes by eliminating wasteful spending and consultant fees
- Maintain the excellent relationship we built with our Semiahmoo First Nations neighbors
- Support new development within our city, but only if it makes are city more livable and is supported by the majority of residents who speak at the public hearing.
What I won’t do as your new Mayor
- I won’t repeat what Megan Knight, Bill Lawrence, and Grant Meyer did as part of the White Rock Coalition when they took donations from developers and then approved over ten high rise buildings during their term. That included approving the 21 and 24 storey Elegant towers on Oxford Street even though 98% of all White Rock residents who spoke at the Dec 7th 2015 public hearing were against it.
- I won’t do what Mayor Walker did in 2022 when he hired a pro-development consultant to undo all the good work we did to limit heights and density in White Rock. The city paid over $160k for this consultant who wrote the “12-Apostles of Affordable Housing” document that does nothing to create affordable housing. While it is written in rosy language of affordability, it is disingenuous and advocates for more height (25 floors) in Town Center, elimination of public hearings, and the eliminations of single family neighborhoods and encouraging 4 storey commercial buildings on every street corner and conversion of single family homes to triplexes without public hearings or a vote by Council. No wonder Darryl Walker left Democracy Direct! Because Democracy Direct was about being transparent and listening to taxpayers. The “12-Apostles” eliminates all this and more.
- I will not do what Mayor Walk did and shut down public input by closing committees such as the Water Quality Public Advisory Committee that was an important opportunity for hearing concerns and addressing them. I will act with integrity to work with Council and staff to work together and focus on providing better quality services to taxpayers at reduced costs. I will ensure residents on committees have a voice to create positive change. Together we are stronger when we listen to all voices, not just those that agree with staff.
Why a Gondola connecting Town Center to Marine Drive?
- Great question! It is contrary to my frugal nature but its a good long term investment.
- First, as your Mayor, I would never take on a big project like this without public consultation.
- A gondola would allow all new residents easy access to the beach without driving.
- The gondola would ease parking at the beach by providing an alternate to driving.
- This would help Marine Drive businesses by making their stores easier to access.
- It would be a tourist attraction and another reason for visitors to enjoy our beautiful city.
- By partnering with Translink and the Province, grants will ensure taxpayers are protected.
- Partnering with Translink, long term we can use the gondola to transport commuters to the train station for rail travel to downtown Vancouver, reducing congestion on Highway 99. No commitment from Translink yet, but even the longest journey starts with that first small step.