Council Candidate Scott Kristjanson talks about Affordable Housing at the PH2H All Candidates Meeting on Oct 9th

Scott talks at the Sept 9th All Candidates meeting sponsored by Peninsula Homeless to Housing (PH2H) task force. In this talk, I speak about my background and why he started volunteering to help the seniors raise awareness of a proposed South Surrey Casino coming to White Rock, and how Mayor Baldwin’s “I am the Boss” speech during the White Rock Muffler Site Public Hearing convinced him to create the Facebook community page NoMoreHighRisesInWhiteRock so he could call out Council on their bullying of the public and to raise public awareness of issues and awesomeness within their community.

In 2012, whle at SFU as a PhD Candidate in Computer Science, I started attending Council Meetings in my spare time. I met a group of seniors who warned that a South Surrey Casino was being proposed by White Rock. I had friends who got addicted to a nearby casino, got into credit card debt, lost their home on Lake Simcoe, and got divorced. All because of Gambling Addiction.

So I attended the Casino meeting and got involved when I learned that this excellent group of seniors had no website to help get the work out. So I volunteered my time, created the No Casino in South Surrey Facebook site, the NoCasinoSurrey website, a twitter account, and I became the Vice-President of the NoCasinoSurrey association.

I ran the social media campaign for them as a volunteer, and combined my research with others to produce a 42-page report called All That Glitters is not Gold for Surrey Council in 2012 that showed how Casinos hurt society, are being used to launder drug money, and also showed that  BCLC was likely targeting White Rock Seniors.

We presented our findings to Surrey City Council at the Public Hearing in January 2013, and Mayor Diane Watts agreed with us that a Casino would be a negative impact on Surrey residents quality of life and would increase crime, and the Casino was defeated. Meanwhile, Mayor Baldwin would not even discuss the matter in White Rock Council meetings.

Since 2012, I have spoken many times in White Rock Council meetings and Public Hearings. I have spoken about affordable housing, how tax dollars are being spent on helping developers rather than on providing infrastructure, about how building towers pushes people out of our community, and the need to switch to safe and clean Metro Vancouver drinking water as recommended by Fraser Health in 2013, and by the White Rock Safe Water Alliance in 2013, and the White Rock Lead, Arsenic, and Manganese Working Group.

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Walking White Rock streets now a danger, senior says

I spoke to many seniors today who have complained about how they have found it so difficult to walk along Johnston through all the construction. Three seniors have described how they have fallen and hurt themselves on the gravel.

Meanwhile, there are those who support Mayor Baldwin and his Condo-Coalition’s destruction of our city who claim that all this development is about making our sidewalks safer and that I am over-reacting.

Johnston Road Dangerous

It is laughable to say that this construction was about fixing the unsafe sidewalks. This is about greed, and having White Rock residents pay for that greed. The sidewalks were safer before the construction and there was only a small stretch that needed repair. Two seniors have already reported being injured in falls here during the construction.

If this was about safety, why did they rip up both sides of Johnston at once instead of leaving one side usable by seniors at all times? This is about rushing to get the development done before this council is voted out on Oct 20th. To get it done, they are doing it all at once so developers get what they need for their towers before we can prevent it.

If this was about sidewalk safety, there was only about 30 feet of unsafe sidewalk on the East side by the old Penguin Meats location. That could have been fixed at a fraction of the cost while also keeping seniors safe. This is about building water and sewer capacity for the new towers that the majority of White Rock residents opposed.

This project is costing tax payers $9M but the developers are only paying half the cost. Tax payers are paying the other half. We get only $500k per tower in development fees. In order to pay for it, we would need 18 towers along this three block stretch of Johnston. The first block is costing tax payers $3M and with three towers being planned here, developers are only paying half: $1.5M. That’s not right.

Mayor Baldwin’s response to Ms.Egger after walking the street himself?
” I will send a message to staff about dealing with it ASAP”.
Who then goes on to blame other councils, even through Baldwin was CAO at the time and was credited for getting Bosa pushed through council in 2005.

That’s not good enough Mayor Baldwin!
Good management accepts responsibility and would have planned for safe development from the start, not think about it as an after thought after people get hurt and go to the media.

A good Mayor would never have allowed both sides of the street to be torn up at the same time, and a good Mayor would have honored their fiduciary responsibility to White Rock residents, and not approved these towers that the majority of residents oppose now, and opposed in 2005.

This Council is to blame, and this Mayor and his Council must take responsibility for it.

Click on the picture above to read this Peace Arch News article and it is clear that safety for seniors is not a priority. Shame on Council! #VoteSmart on Oct 20th.

Johnston Road Destruction - June 14th 2018

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
http://www.peacearchnews.com/news/327744311.html
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 MUNICIPAL
ALL-CANDIDATES FORUM
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

Meet with Candidates: David Bradshaw

It looks like there will be at least two candidates for the Mayor’s chair this year. That’s excellent news!

David Bradshaw entered the race this week for the Mayor’s chair. David decided to run because of how the City has allowed developers to run over the rights of Property Owners and virtually ignore the OCP and Bylaws. You may recall that David was recently in the Peace Arch Times complaining about how the City allowed developers to build over the OCP height restrictions, and that they were given specific permission by Mayor Wayne Baldwin himself. No one should be ignoring the OCP, especially the Mayor! You can read more about it here. Good luck David!
55986whiterockvictoriaavecomplaints-th-06271404

Here is what happened to David when the Mayor signed off to allow Tatla to exceed the agreed building height in front of David’s building:

“The buiding looked too high to me,” Bradshaw said as he observed work taking place just a few metres from his bedroom window. He said he was later advised – after pressing the mayor and chief building official for answers – “that the beam’s height was allowed to jumped by more than two feet from the 51.25-foot maximum that residents heard at the public hearing to 53.48 feet.”

“Just a few weeks later, the mayor signs off on 53.48 feet,” Bradshaw said. “How does that happen? There’s a whole series of exceptional allowances for this project and we can’t get any reasonable explanation.”

Personally, I had my own Mayor papers filled in and was ready to submit my own papers to run for Mayor this afternoon if no one else signed up first. We cannot let Mr. Baldwin continue to believe that we agree with his bullying and complete disregard the OCP and his contempt for citizens and their need for a healthy community governed by an OCP that limits excessive growth and protects our community and our property values.

Mayor Wayne “I am the Boss” Baldwin needs to go in my opinion. We need a Mayor who will listen to everybody including residents, developers, and business to come up with solutions that benefit the entire community, not just greedy developers and the politicians that they support.

For a list of the Candidates, click here.