I attended the White Rock public information meeting yesterday held by Texor Homes who provided details about their massive 15-storey, 134-unit Condo-Tower being proposed for the Single-Family Area at the corner of North Bluff Road and Nichol Road.
It is a fine development, but it entirely in the wrong place! In his 2014 Election Campaign, the Mayor promised to protect single-family areas and only develop in OCP-designated multi-family zones. This proposal along with the Vidal Street Cressey Development, and the multiple Towers being built along Oxford Street breaks his promises that Mayor Baldwin made to White Rock citizens.
To be clear, let me say that I am not Anti-Development. What I am is Pro-Community, Pro-Official-Community-Plan, and Pro-Democracy. When City Council works with Citizens, Businesses, and Developers, then we all win. Unfortunately, that is not happening in White Rock with Mayor Baldwin and the Condo-Coalition in charge. Only Councillors Helen Fathers and Dave Chesney seem to care about what the public want and vote to support the community and residents.
OUR VIEW: White Rock council was elected to listen – that includes question period – The Now
There was a large Citizen turnout despite the fact that it was scheduled in the peak holiday travel time and over the dinner hour. Every resident that I talked to objected to the project. While three City Staff were paid to be there from the Planning Department, only councillors Dave Chesney and Helen Fathers attended. The Mayor did not bother to attend.
Many residents provided feedback to City Staff and Council and stated our opposition to the project. Voters are notably upset with White Rock being sold-off to the highest bidders for huge high-density developments that clearly violate the Official Community Plan. A person who grows up in White Rock, should be able to afford a single-family home in White Rock. Destroying Single-Family homes and replacing them with Condos is putting that dream of home ownership out of reach for most young White Rock families. That is not right.
With 134 units, this project will have an unprecedented density of 204 units/acre which is nearly 2.5 times the maximum density permitted anywhere in White Rock. This is extremely excessive and inappropriate for a single-family area. It is without precedent in White Rock and violates the election promise made by Mr. Wayne Baldwin during his 2014 election campaign to preserve Single Family Areas and confine growth to the designated Multi-family areas.
While we can be sure that Councillor Dave Chesney and Helen Fathers will vote against this development, how can Mayor Baldwin support such a project and justify breaking a key election promise to the voting public thus violating his Fiduciary Responsibility to the Citizens of White Rock to act on their behalf?
In my letter, I point out that this proposal violates several key election time promises made by Mr. Wayne Baldwin during the 2014 election. You can view his 2014 Election Promises in the image below. Click on the image for a larger version if this is too small for you to read.
Is this simply a case of a Politician saying one thing during an Election, and doing the opposite once elected? Many in White Rock, even former supporters of Mayor Baldwin such as myself, expected more from the Mayor than broken promises and clear cuts to improve views for friends.
Do you have a list of action by Mayor and Council that you feel broke an election promise? Post a comment telling us about it. White Rock Matters. It our home.
We are still waiting for Mayor Baldwin to fulfill his promise to listen to the public and, in his own words, demonstrate “Respect for the Public and Taxpayers” while “Ensuring Accountability and Common Sense in Governance” and “Making White Rock the best place to live, work, and play”. Great words, now we need the actions of White Rock’s Mayor and City Council to match those words.
Perhaps the city should call this new kind of excessive developer-driven density zoning the new “Developer-Originated Obscenely Mega-Excessive Density” or DOOMED Zoning for short? For under such excessive density within an OCP-designated Single-Family Area, the small town look and feel of Our City By the Sea is surely DOOMED!
Residents often like to say that Condo Towers are needed to help lower taxes. We have been told that densification will help our taxes, and we have been adding density to White Rock for over 30 years, but our taxes are among the highest of any similar sized city. We are twice as dense as Surrey, yet our property taxes are 50% higher and our business taxes are 300% higher than Surrey’s.
Residents have been told that we need to create towers by Developer-backed Politicians for so long that people actually start to believe it. While every household adds to the cost of running White Rock about the same, on average Condo owners pay far less than the majority of White Rock Citizens. Densification actually increases our taxes by placing more burden on existing home owners and high-end Strata-Owners. While it is a good thing that the rich should help pay to support those less fortunate, be clear that densification has driven up prices so that many cannot afford a single-family home in White Rock.
Still not convinced that White Rock does not need more density for sustainability? You should know that White Rock current has $45M sitting in the bank in reserves from Surplus taxes. Do they use this money to lower our taxes or improve infrastructure? No! Instead, they try hide the fact so that people will believe the lie that White Rock needs more residents. We simply do not! That only helps Developers make money while Citizens pay more and get less. That’s not right!
You can read my full letter to City Staff and Council here.