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.

My Commitment to Our Community

I have been in White Rock since 2010 because I believed that this White Rock would be a great small town community to raise my  family.  Since 2012, I have helped various community organizations by donating my time and energy to help community groups get the word out by creating websites, Facebook pages, and twitter accounts for them. As I learned more about the issues, I created my own community pages to help educate the public, and learn from them by reading their comments and answering their questions.

I have spoken at Council Meetings and Public Hearings dozens of times. I have reminded Council that their Fiduciary Duty is to act for the benefit of residents and local businesses, not out of town developers and certainly not themselves. I have raised concerns about approving new towers without sufficient infrastructure or public support. I have raised questions about water quality and how increased development is making housing less affordable and pushing long time residents out of their own city.

I have watched as the Mayor bullied residents, cut off their mic, called in the RCMP to intimidate residents for stating their opinions during public hearings, and I have watch this council approve developments where 98% of White Rock residents who spoke, including a former Mayor and a former councillor, all objected to the project.

I love White Rock, but it has changed far too much over the last four years. This change has not been positive, and it is driven entirely by greed. I worry that excess development is destroying our city, that need for better infrastructure is being ignored, that our water is unsafe to drink with excessive levels of arsenic, manganese, lead, and glyphosate.

I believe our  beautiful city is being mismanaged and exploited, having gone from virtually debt free four years ago to now being over $30M in debt. Clearly all this development, and all the taxpayer money that goes into subsidizing developers, is not helping to reduce our taxes, but are increasing them.

Something in White Rock stinks, and it is not just the water! By voting smart, we can elect a council that listens to residents, local businesses, and responsible developers to create a positive long term vision for White Rock that works for everyone, not just a few. With the right vision, White Rock has all the natural beauty to become BC’s next Carmel, Cannon Beach, and Steveston all rolled into one. Can we fix this? Together, YES WE CAN!

Here are some of the websites that I run, or that I support within our community.

NoMoreHighRisesInWhiteRock on Facebook since 2012

  • Providing the community updates on what our Mayor and City Council are doing, both the good and the bad, and calling out their lies when they do. This site is concerned with the excess development that is destroying our community, and driving out local businesses, and about the lack of clean safe drinking water in White Rock, and that we do not have enough water to fight a large fire.

White Rock Safe Water Alliance on Facebook and website since 2015

  • Providing the community with specific information about water quality issues in White Rock, and the health impacts of our water’s excessive levels of arsenic, manganese, lead, and gyphosate, much of which comes directly from our wells that draw from the Sunnyside Aquifer that is being contaminated by run-off from local blueberry farms (pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers) and natural occurring heavy metals. Fraser Health recommended in 2013 that White Rock stop using its wells, and connect up to Safe and Clean Metro Vancouver water. Mayor and Council instead decided to keep using our well water because it was a “cash cow”. Since then, water rates have doubled, and they have spent over $25M on water treatment that has yet to improve our water. Meanwhile there are six valves along North Bluff that connect us to Metro Vancouver water. We could have safe and clean drinking water today simply by turning on those six valves. Vote for Scott, and I will make that happen because providing safe and clean drinking water is a city’s job #1.

NoCasinoSurrey website and No Casino in South Surrey on Facebook since 2011

  • When I learned from Terry McNiece that there was a large Casino being planned for South Surrey, I volunteered to help the group NoCasinoSurrey by becoming their official Geek-in-Charge of all their social media including the website, facebook page, and twitter accounts. I volunteering over 300 hours of my time, to run their social media campaign. Being a University PhD student at the time, I lent my research skills to the group, and combined with three other brilliant members of the group, we created a 47 page report to council on the effects of gambling on society, on personal health, and on the local economy. We presented our findings to Surrey Mayor Diane Watts in 2013, and to our delight we successfully convinced Council to reject the proposed casino.

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