Elegant’s 24 and 21 Twin Towers on Oxford Approved by Mayor Baldwin and Council

Great turn out at tonight’s public meeting on the Elegant Twin Tower proposal for Oxford and Thrift: 73 Presenters, about 200+ in attendence, 346 written submissions, with 98% of written submissions by White Rock residents opposed, yet the development was approved by Mayor Baldwin (who had claimed earlier that he opposed it on Nov 23rd) and the Condo-Coalition, with Helen Fathers and David Chesney voting against. Final vote: 5 voted to approve, 2 against.

The City worked past its usual curfew of 1030 PM until just before Midnight letting people speak at the Public Hearing in order to vote on the development tonight, without taking the time to read and understand the written and spoken submissions by White Rock Residents. Then Mayor and Council reconvened their Special Council Meeting at midnight, Grant Meyer made a motion to put Bylaw 2123 (the OCP Amendment) to a vote and it was seconded by Bill Lawrence.  Then the Mayor and Coalition voted in favour with Chesney and Fathers opposed.

Then they started to discuss Bylaw 2056, the Rezoning bylaw. Helen Fathers made a motion to put the vote off to December 14 which was seconded by Dave Chesney. This motion was defeated 5-2 by the Mayor and the Coalition.

The Mayor and Coalition then voted to approve Bylaw 2056 which they did 5-2. There are a few nuts and bolts to thinker with on the Rezoning Bylaw but the Elegant deal is done as matters currently stand.

Elegant's The Oxford - Approved Dec7th


The general consensus of the public: The Owners of the Property, the Developers, and their Friends and Family, and Real-Estate Agents all spoke very highly of this project.

The general public spoke also spoke favourably about the design, but questioned the location as being outside the OCP zone, breaking several of Mayor Baldwin’s election promises, and being located too close to the White Rock’s Water Wells and the associated Chlorine Plant.

Citizens begged Council to not approve it at this location. Reasons included possible risk of contamination of our water supply as the building will be about 30 feet from our wells as opposed to the recommended 100 to 200 feet, the likely destruction of the protect trees and the Heron’s nesting site there, risk to the new residents from Chlorine Gas poisoning from the Chlorination Plant located only 20 feet away, plus the location violates the OCP and adds to the already congested Thrift and Oxford traffic problem.

After receiving 346 written submissions and hearing from 73 presenters, the Mayor and Council immediately voted to approve third reading of the project, clearly without any consideration of input presented by the Public, nor with insufficient time to review any of the submissions which were received by 4pm that day. Nice.

Plenty of excellent speakers, but strangely it was not recorded. Why wasn’t this Public Hearing Recorded? All the others have been. Why not this one? Strange.

White Rock – A City in turmoil as Citizens Call for Mayor Baldwin to Resign

White Rock council was greeted by a crowd of over 100 protestors yesterday requesting that “BALDWIN RESIGN NOW”, over comments Mayor Baldwin made in the Peace Arch News falsely stating that White Rock was legally obligated by the Regional Growth Strategy to absorb 7,000 new residents in the coming years. This statement was proven false in the Peace Arch New which quoted numerous sources including the Regional Growth Strategy itself.

Baldwin refused to back down from his unsupported and false claims, and instead lashed out at Councillor Helen Fathers for pointing out that the growth targets are non-binding goals.
Crowd of Protestors Calling for Baldwin to Resign Now

Read about the Protest and City Council Meeting in the Peace Arch News
Peace Arch News Photo - Residents Rally for Baldwin to Resign - Melissa Smalley Photo

METRO VANCOUVER reps were on hand during Monday’s Council meeting to bring some clarity to the community on request of Mayor Baldwin and Council. Try as Mayor Baldwin might to lead the witnesses, the MV Reps repeatedly made it clear that the Regional Growth Strategy is NOT legally binding, but is instead just a potential forecast and is subject to change as dictated and controlled by each municipality itself. They went on to say that each municipality sets their own growth targets and that it is the OCP that is legally binding, not the Regional Growth Strategy.

Allan Neilson, Metro Vancouver’s general manager of planning, policy and environment, and Elisa Campbell, Metro Vancouver’s director of regional planning, surprised Mayor Baldwin and Council by saying RGS is just a goal, the OCP is the Law, and they have revised White Rock Growth forecasts down from 7000 to 3400 additional residents by 2041

Allan Neilson, Metro Vancouver’s general manager of planning, policy and environment, and Elisa Campbell, Metro Vancouver’s director of regional planning, surprised Mayor Baldwin and Council by saying RGS is just a goal, the OCP is the Law, and they have revised White Rock Growth forecasts down from 7000 to 3400 additional residents by 2041

Kudo’s to the Metro Van Reps for not being bullied. In fact, they pointed out that the current growth target of 7000 was deemed to be too high by White Rock City Council, including Mayor Baldwin himself, who in 2013 requested that the target be reduced to more reasonable numbers. The RGS has now been amended to a lower goal of 3500 new White Rock residents by 2041 as requested by Mayor and Council themselves. This came as quite a surprise to City Planner Karen Cooper and Mayor Baldwin himself. Strange how the Mayor missed this fact even though he sits on the Metro Vancouver Board and would have been there for this decision!

During the City Council meeting, Mayor Baldwin angered many in the gallery by noting there was “a lot of lack of knowledge on the part of the public, because it’s something that’s very complicated.”. Several in the crowd shouted out in response to Baldwin’s remark, calling for the mayor to “respect your citizens.”

Soon after, a uniformed RCMP officer entered the Council Chambers and glared at the Citizens in the gallery in an apparent attempt to intimidate the crowd. Citizens were outraged and Ken Jones raised a motion of order, requesting that the RCMP Officer remove himself from Council Chambers. The RCMP Officer left, having served as an apparent warning to Citizens that Mayor Baldwin “is still the boss”… for now.

The Protest Group released a statement to the press calling for the resignation of Wayne Baldwin from his elected position of Mayor of White Rock, stating that through his actions, Wayne Baldwin has demonstrated that he does not have the best interests at heart for the overall good of the Community and they believe that he is no longer fit to serve the Public as Mayor.

You can read the full Press Release by clicking here.

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Residents visibly Upset at Excessively Dense 15-Story High Rise Proposed for White Rock Single-Family Area

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.

Texor Proposed 15 Story Condo-Tower at North Bluff and Nichol

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.
Site for Proposed Developmen Cropped 2t

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

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.
Eric Shaw of the White Rock Planning Dept explaining the Developers Show and Sell EventProponent sells the features of the towers and town house buffers planned; Green space between them - plant lots of treesChris McBeath from White Rock City Planning Dept talking to Concerned Residents

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.
Wayne Baldwin's 2014 Election Promises

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.

Years of Baldwin Densification Has Increased Our TaxesResidents 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.

White Rock All-Candidates Meeting tonight at the Community Center

White Rock Community Centre
15154 Russell Avenue (Miramar “A”)
Thursday, October 30th, 2014
7:00 – 9:00 pm

We have heard lots of great questions, but few answers.

Why not ask Mayor Baldwin why, when it looked like the Vidal Street 12-Story Mega-Condo was going to fail the vote, why did Mayor Baldwin delay the vote until the next meeting so Grant Meyer could be there to ensure the vote passed? If Mayor Baldwin was so against the Cressey Mega-Condo development on Vidal as he claims, why did he delay the vote when he could have ensured that it failed? Remember, he claimed to be against the Vidal Street Mega-Condo!

Lots of Promises about Trains, but all we get are fences.

Lots of Promises about Trains, but all we get are fences.

Do not be fooled by political spin, Actions speak louder than words.

Be sure to ask Mayor Baldwin why he did not mention Densification as part of his platform in the Peace Arch News? He has been working hard to increase White Rock density for years. Why not mention it?

Why avoid this topic? Does he not want to tell residents that he strongly believes in more densification whether we like it or not? Is this missing from his message because he knows that it is unpopular with residents?

And ask him why he is increasing densification when it clearly raises our taxes and makes our city less livable by increasing congestion, wait times at the hospital, waitlists in our schools, and more police costs all the while many of these condos remain empty?

Perhaps there are reasonable answers to all these questions. If so, we would like to hear them. Perhaps we will get answers tonight, but do not be surprised if these questions do not come up. The questions are being filtered by the White Rock Business Improvement Association and South Surrey/White Rock Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.

It is your city by the sea, not Mayor Wayne “the Boss” Baldwin’s and not the White Rock Six’s Pro-Development Coalition.

Enjoy tonight

White Rock All Candidates Meeting November 30th 2014

Bad Governments are elected by Good People who DO NOT vote!

Be one of the good ones! Vote this year and bring some friends!

Remember what Mayor Baldwin told residents during the contested White Rock Muffler Public Hearing back in 2013?

He told residents to be quiet because he was the boss and he was running the meeting. Then he said, “If you don’t like it, there’s an election coming up on November 15th 2014. You can have your say then.”
White Rock Muffler Public Hearing

Well Mr. Baldwin, Winter is Coming. And so is November 15th.
It’s time for residents to have OUR say!

It only takes 2500 votes to win the Election in White Rock.
Mayor Wayne, I am the Boss, Baldwin wants you to think you cannot change City Hall. He is wrong. Together, we can!

Read about the White Rock Muffler Site Public Hearing in the Peace Arch News here.

Spread the word and get at least one friend who wants sustainable growth without high density to FOLLOW this page too. In a few weeks, we will be posting the voting record of each of the candidates along with a summary of which Candidates accept money from greedy developers.

Our Facebook page has 476 Likes. If everyone of you vote for Change, and if we each get 4 friends to vote for Change as well, we can send Mr.Baldwin and his Pro-High-Density slate away and stop them from turning our City by the Sea into another Whalley or Newton. Nobody wants that! That’s bad for business and its bad for residents.

Mayor Baldwin says that Towers are coming “whether people like it or not”.
Sorry to disagree Mr. Baldwin, but they are coming only if you get re-elected. You and your council refuse to listen to residents and refuse to abide by the OCP as required by law. We need leaders, not bullies.
White Rock Excessive Development Upsets Residents

Remember to vote this November 15th for change.
Together, we can fix City Hall this November.

Bad Politicians get Elected by Good People Who Do Not Vote

Remember that High Density Towers only helps Developers and the Politicians they support!
Densification increases taxes and crime and congestion on our roads. Our schools are already over-crowded and wait-times in the Emergency room are way too long as it is. By ignoring the OCP, Mr. Baldwin puts the value of our homes at risk. Do not be fooled by hype. Densification makes affording a single family home impossible and raises the cost of homes for new home buyers. It does not help with affordability. Look at the data. Years of Densification have increased our taxes, not lower them.

Mayor Baldwin promised action on the Trains as well. All we got were fences, midnight train horns, coal dust, and broken promises. I asked Mayor Baldwin why they could not at least restore the under-the-track tunnels to provide safe access to the beach. They used to be there but were removed to add a couple of parking spots. Check out what he said here. His answer was ridiculous, insulted the intelligence of everyone in that room, and showed a complete ignorance of basic science.

Lots of Promises about Trains, but all we get are fences.

Lots of Promises about Trains, but all we got were fences!

Remember the proposed South Surrey Casino that BCLC tried to force on us last year? Research tells us that people who live within 10 kms of a Casino are the most impacted by the adverse affects of gambling, and Seniors who visit Casinos are the most vulnerable to gambling addiction. Crime rates for Burglary and Assaults double within 5 years of a Casino being built in areas around a Casino. We (at NoCasinoSurrey) fought this hard (I personally donated 350 hours of my time to help) and finally won thanks to Mayor Watts and Surrey City Council and the support of the community. But we had NO help at all from White Rock City Council. You can see the details here and read the full report by NoCasinoSurrey.org here.

What did Mayor Baldwin do about White Rock being targeted for a Casino?
Nothing! He said that it did not affect White Rock.
The facts are that residents within 8 kms of a Casino, and especially seniors, are at highest risk of getting a gambling addition or becoming a victim of a crime! White Rock city center would have been less than 3 kms from the Casino. It would have affected White Rock even more than Surrey. But White Rock ignored the issue while Surrey agreed that the new Casino was a bad idea.

What kind of Mayor ignores the concerns of local residents like this?
A Mayor should represent the people, not special interest groups!

White Rock needs change now!
We do not need 4 more years of Mr. Wayne “I am the Boss” Baldwin

Vote for Change on November 15th!

Do not Let White Rock City Hall Ignore the OCP and Destroy our City By the Sea and Your Home’s Resale Value!

In front of a packed city council meeting on Monday Sept 8th, White Rock planning Director Karen Cooper recommended that Council break the law by ignoring the OCP and Local Government Act and approving a 6-unit apartment complex on a tiny single family home lot on Thrift despite a packed house of residents opposing the plan! This plan will be voted on by City Council on Sept 29th. Be there!

Here is the direct quote from our Director of Planning Karen Cooper:
“Staff support the application to rezone the property located at 14937 Thrift Avenue to allow the construction of a six-unit concrete apartment building.” – K. Cooper, Director of High Rises and Densification, City of White Rock
Karen and Ross
This recommendation suggests that the 6-unit apartment building be permitted even though it violates the existing OCP density restrictions. That is nothing new, but to do so without an OCP amendment is illegal and sets a dangerous precedent which Council it not permitted to do under the Local Government Act.

Why is this important to you and your community?
By setting the precedent that the OCP is a “guideline”, it opens the door for greedy developers to build whatever they want where ever they want! That is not good for our community and it is not good for citizens. This will impact your home and its resale value. We heard from one unfortunate homeowner on Thrift who lost over $40000 on the sale of their home thanks to excessive density and development by a developer next door (and received offers as low as $100k below assessed value!).

Building High Density is a Win for Developers/Politicians and a Lose for Citizens
Developers have everything to gain and nothing to lose when they build high density in our community. And our Mayor and City Councillors who are supported by these developers win as well. It’s the residents of White Rock that lose with uncontrolled excessive development! We lose with property values, increased taxes, increased crime, increased traffic, increased school over-crowding, and increased hospital wait times. Our small town community feel is under attack by greedy developers and by the politicians that the developer support.

That’s not right!
The role of the OCP is to protect homeowners rights and their investment!
Instead, the OCP is used by Developers to do whatever they want are your expense!

The City’s Argument:
If we look at the average density in this single family area of town, the existing developments have not used up their full density quota, so we can add the unused density to this lot.

The City’s Argument is Illegal and Invalid
This argument is not only illegal and unjust to surrounding home owners, the city’s math is incorrect and misleading. Even if “averaging” was legal, and its not, the city based their argument on a selection of lots in the area that were cherry picked for their low density development, but conveniently left out high density planned development such as the Cressey 12-Story Mega-Condo currently planned for Vidal street just a few lots away. If one took the Cressey Mega-Condo into account, the average is WAY too high.

Good try White Rock.
Please stick to the OCP and only approve legal developments.

You have seen what happened on Bishop’s Road and how developers built a condo with the balconies so close to neighbors that condo owners could watch as

Ross wrote a great article summarizing the details, which is available at the White Rock Sun “In My Opinion” column. Here is an excerpt below:

The minute the Director of Planning recommended that the project be approved by council despite the serious violations of both the OCP and the Local Government Act is the moment that this issue became much more than simply how many units are allowed. Staff and Council’s dogged insistence to shove this down the throat of the Citizens of White has elevated this to a question of Moral Compass. Do we want our community to be imposed on us by the wishes of developers and speculators from elsewhere who council members take money from or do we want to keep White Rock a great place to live and protect those qualities that have made it a place that is envied by others. To sacrifice all that we have for the greed of the developers and this council would be a sad end to what may well be the best place to live in Canada.

Double bonus points to all of the folks who filled the new council chambers to overflowing. It was wonderful to see the standing room only kind of opposition that is looking council in the eye and saying STOP! Lots of great speakers on Monday night opposing this project and this precedence. Wish I had everyone’s names but some that really stood out for me were Dennis Lypka, Hazel Stack, Garry Wolgemuth, Aroon Shaw and Scott Kristjanson.

The final decision on this proposal has been delayed until September 29. Come early to get a good seat so you can watch your council determine the future of White Rock. Will they be overcome by greed and approve this illegal project that will establish a nasty precedence that will automatically bump the allowable density levels by 20% and destroy White Rock or will they do the right thing for the Citizens of White Rock?

See you on The Beach.

See the rest of Ross’ article in the White Rock Sun by clicking here

Want Lower Taxes? We need Fiscal Responsibilty, Not Densification!

Some people argue that increasing density is a good thing for White Rock and that adding more people will lower our taxes. White Rock has been increasing its density for over a decade now. Forget the spin. Let’s look at data to see how densification has failed to lower your taxes!
White Rock Taxes vs Similar BC Cities

Here’s a graph that compares White Rock’s taxes to similar BC Cities. Notice how our taxes are WAY higher!

Check out Pitt Meadows for example. White Rock has about the same population as Pitt Meadows, but the average taxes paid by homeowners in White Rock is DOUBLE what residents in Pitt Meadows pay! White Rock density is TWICE the density of Surrey. Are our taxes lower? Not at all! Our taxes are about 50% higher than Surrey.

So what does the data tell us?
Taxes are high because City Hall wastes millions of dollars not because we need more density!
Listen to Data, Not Political spin!

Remember that on November 15th when you vote.
Vote for sound financial management and lower taxes, Not higher density!

White Rock – Should it stay or Should it grow?

The real issue with development here in White Rock is whether our local politicians and local government are working in the community’s best interest. Or, as many residents believe, does it appear that our local politicians are ignoring the wishes of the community? Many would say YES.

It appears that residents are NOT being listened to by our local politicians. Politicians appear to be doing what is best for their own personal benefit and careers, and are doing what is best for filling the pockets of the developers who pay for the politician’s own election campaigns.

That’s a conflict of interest and that is not right!
We demand better from City Hall, or at least we should!.

Scott at Miramar Towers in White Rock
You can read the Surrey Now’s story on White Rock Development by clicking here .

The problem is not with the investors nor even the developers. They are just trying to make a living and there is nothing wrong with that. Provided developers enhance our community and do so ethically with the best interest of the community for long term sustainable growth, that is great. Developers are not the enemy. We hope they continue to develop White Rock in healthy sustainable ways for the benefit of the community, and make money doing so. Money that we hope will be re-invested into the community.

The problem with offshore investors and developers, whether they come from abroad or from Ontario or from Surrey or from anywhere else, is that they have no emotional or financial stake on how their development impacts the residents within the community. Do they care if people are unhappy? Do they care if White Rock becomes another Newton or Whalley? No.

When politicians listen to developers from outside our community, the money made on these developments leaves the community never to return. That hurts the local economy and it hurts local business.

The result of all this greedy short-term development: the community is left in a poorer state financially and, more importantly, loses its small town appeal and community feel. It is us, the residents of White Rock, who are left to clean up the mess left behind.

About 200 unhappy residents were at the meeting tonight to object to the 21 and 24 story towers proposed on tiny little Oxford Street

About 200 unhappy residents were at the meeting tonight with one message that was loud and clear: Stick to the OCP!

Densification provides residents with no benefits, nor does White Rock benefit. It is all about developers making false claims (and there were too many to mention tonight!), and making a dollar while they can.

White Rock is already the 5th most densely populated city in BC, but are taxes remain sky high, our schools are over crowded, wait times at the hospital emergency ward are out of control, our roads are congested, and our policing and fire fighting bills are climbing. All this gets worse as we strive to build up density. What is in it for residents? Nothing.

So why do this White Rock? This land is zoned for Utilities. It is not supposed to have any residential lots on it at all. It was donated by the Goggs family for use as an aquifer. Why rezone it just so EPCOR can sell it off and make $12M? Turn this request down, and White Rock will own this 2.7 acre parcel of land when we purchase the Water Utility from EPCOR later this year.

Why would our Mayor and City Councillors choose any other option than to turn down this rezoning request, and reap a huge benefit for the city of acquiring this land along with the rest of the utility when it buys it?

Email your comments to Chris McBeath of the city planning department at CMcbeath@WhiteRockCity.ca. He would like to receive all comments from the public by this Friday is possible.
Architectural Diagram for 21 and 24 Story Towers - 1454 Oxford Street