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

Public Information Session for the Proposed 21 and 24 story Towers on EPCOR land at 1454 Oxford Street

Public Meeting on the proposed Twin Towers at 1454 Oxford Street on the EPCOR lands is happening tonight April 9th starting at 5:30pm at First United Church. This is an information session only. Residents and the public will not have an opportunity to speak.

Will the City be “conflicted” in its handling of the approval process for the EPCOR? Will the developer propose something extreme, so we are happy to have our City by the Sea ruined by something smaller later? Should White Rock just say NO so it could buy this land off EPCOR cheap with the rest of the Water Works? Are the answers to all of these questions all YES?!
Architectural Diagram for 21 and 24 Story Towers - 1454 Oxford Street

Public Meeting for proposed development of two 21 and 24 story high rise towers at 1454 Oxford Street (EPCOR Land) this Wednesday

Why would White Rock City Hall permit OCP Changes on the EPCOR Land to allow these two towers to be built?
By sticking to the OCP, this land is far less valuable and White Rock will be able to buy it back from EPCOR along with our Water Works at a very reasonable price and be able to maintain it as a park, or develop it later as the city sees fit. To allow these OCP now changes makes no sense.

Why were the Development Notice signs hidden behind bushes?
Noni Finds the Development Sign for the Oxford Street 21 and 24 Story Towers on EPCOR lands

Is the City “conflicted” in its handling of the approval process for the EPCOR land developers due to the City’s “closed door” negotiations with EPCOR? We all know that the $12,000,000 price tag for 2.67 acres of what for years has been utility land, and as such zoned as “civic/institutional”, would be a “windfall” for EPCOR that only happens if the City provides the necessary approvals. It is not a big stretch to wonder whether this in fact will somehow form a key plank of the City’s EPCOR acquisition negotiating strategy. If this is the case, we will say now that that would be both wholly wrong and inappropriate.

Why would City Council approve this now? The purchase of our water utility from EPCOR is mandated by the regulator and stipulates that we are permitted to buy it. There is no need to give EPCOR this windfall. By keeping the zoning as specified in the OCP, we keep the value of this land low and the city can acquire it cheap from EPCOR. By permitting this change to the OCP, resident’s needs are ignored and EPCOR benefits. Why would the City Council approve this? Do they have something to gain from this that we did not hear about in the closed door sessions? Let’s hope not! That would be a huge conflict of interest. Surely City Council has not forgotten that they serve residents, and not developers?!

Residents invest their money in their homes, expecting the OCP will protect their investment. Every time city council allows an exception for another Tower or Monster home, their our violating the trust expected of local governments to serve residents and protect their investments and their community. Our schools, roads, and hospitals are already bursting at the seems, and our Policing and Fire Fighting costs keep going up as we add more density. This has got to stop before we become another Whalley or Newton or Richmond. Our little city by the Sea should not be For-Sale to the highest bidder. We need growth and development, but it needs to be sustainable and well planned.

Public Information Meeting for the proposed development of two 21 and 24 story high rise towers, high density development at 1454 Oxford Street (EPCOR Land) Wednesday, April 9th from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM in the United Church at 15385 Semiahmoo Avenue in White Rock. Be there!

Bullying in White Rock

It is anti-bullying day.
What better day to discuss bullying done by City Council and the Mayor?

I was very disappointed during Monday night’s City Council meeting to see Mayor Baldwin shutdown legitimate questions by Mr. Dennis Lypka during question period. I like Mayor Baldwin and voted for him during the last election. I would not do that again. Has he forgotten that his role is to listen to residents, no matter how uncomfortable those questions may be for City Council to hear?
We need a Council that Listens

Kudos to Councillor Alan Campbell and Helen Fathers who raised some excellent points about the proposal and why they opposed it. The current plan needlessly impacts neighbours and deviates from the original plan which would have provided more patio space and green space for Evergreen patients, while also protecting the old growth trees and not impact views for neighbouring properties. This proposal is flawed and not in the best interest of the patients or nearby residents.

Councillor Helen Fathers and Alan Campbell stood by residents and patients by voting against this change to the OCP. I will vote for them. The others including the Mayor voted for this very flawed plan that eliminates outdoor patio space for patients, destroys old growth trees and residents views in the Belaire. All to save some money for the developer while cost residents millions in property values. Patients and Residents need to come first, not developers. We need a change at City Hall this November. Please vote for a Council that puts residents first, not developers.
Evergreen Baptist Care Home Parking Lot

Here are the questions that Mr. Lypka wanted to ask Council in his own words. If you want answers to these questions, I suggest you email Mayor Baldwin and City Hall and demand answers.

1) What analysis did City Staff and Council do of the affects and impacts that the Evergreen Project would have on adjacent homeowners and on the Community before approving Bylaw No. 2045?

2) If an analysis was done, when will that analysis be made available to the Public?

3) If no analysis was done, can Council please explain how it can adopt Bylaw No. 2045 and still carry out its duty to good governance for the benefit and well-being of the community?

4) City Staff and Council have been aware since November of the many process failures and defects associated with the Evergreen Project, all of which have been advantageous to the Developer. Can Council please explain why they have failed to ensure that these failures and defects were promptly addressed?

5) Bylaw No. 2045 contains known errors, defects and inconsistencies which both City Staff and Council have been made aware of in writing for weeks. Can Council please explain why they would ignore these facts and not correct the proposed Bylaw before voting to approve Bylaw No. 2045?

6) The Director of the Planning & Development Services City Staff that Council relied upon for the Evergreen Project and Bylaw No. 2045 was dismissed for cause in January 2014. Some of the dismissed Director’s work such as the Medicinal Marijuana Zoning was held back in the approval process for further review. Can Council please advise why the Evergreen Project and Bylaw No. 2045 were not similarly held back for further review?

Dennis had this to say after being shut down during Question Period:
If these questions and the other proper questions that other citizens tried to ask last night somehow made Council feel uncomfortable, that is unfortunate. But Council’s personal discomfort is not sufficient justification to deny citizens their right for an opportunity to speak and refuse to allow the questions to be addressed to Council at Question Period under the terms of Bylaw No. 1860. Remember, as I tried to remind Council last night, Question Period has been the only time when citizens have ever been allowed to ask Council any questions whatsoever about the Evergreen Project and Bylaw No. 2045. Two (2) minutes each of questioning from a few citizens to Council with the cameras turned off is hardly any sort of gruelling inquisition or nefarious, in depth second guessing of Council’s decision. But Council’s actions in this regard are consistent with the City’s pattern in its handling of the Evergreen Project since the Evergreen project was first brought to public light in late October of 2013. Once more, this is just another paving stone in the long, bumpy, bumpy road that is the history of the Evergreen Project.

Let’s not forget what happened to residents on Vidal Street or on Bishop Hill. Vote for a Council that supports the wishes of residents, not developers. The Rally on Vidal with Lilians Sign
White Rock Bishop Hill with Chris Small

And let’s not forget about the White Rock Muffler site development where hundreds of residents voiced concerns. During that council meeting, the Mayor told residents who had concerns that he was the Boss, and that if residents did not like it, then there was an election coming in 2014 and residents could express their views then. That is not good enough Mr. Baldwin. We expect more from our Mayor. Let’s remind the bullies at City Hall about that in November on election day.
Residents View Proposed Development on old Muffler Site

City Council Passes Bylaw to Allow 12-Story Mega-Condo on Vidal – Remember, Voting Matters!

The election is coming in 2014, please remember that Louise Hutchinson, Grant Meyer, Bill Lawrence, Larry Robinson voted for this monster development on little Vidal Street as you wait in the traffic jams going to work. Voting matters! Be informed please.

A sad day for White Rock when Developer Greed trumps concerns of residents and the Mayor. The election is coming in 2014, please remember to NOT VOTE for Louise Hutchinson, Grant Meyer, Bill Lawrence, Larry Robinson who voted for this monster development on little Vidal Street. We need a council that puts residents first, not greedy developers.

Read more about it in the Peace Arch News by clicking here.

When you are stuck in your car trying to get out of White Rock, or waiting for hours in the emergency room in Peace Arch Hospital, or your child is put on a waitlist for the program that she wanted, and when your taxes go up or your value of your condo hits rock bottom, remember that your vote is important to your city and your future.

Thanks to Mayor Wayne Baldwin, councilors Helen Fathers and Al Campbell for listening to residents and raising concerns about the Vidal Street Condo development and for voting against this mega-condo!

My heart goes out to the residents on Vidal Street who fought so hard to keep this out of their neighborhood, but sadly lost. Your neighborhood could be next. This is not right. We need to fix this in 2014!