Scott Kristjanson for Mayor of White Rock – Why I running for Mayor

Why am I running for Mayor?

As one of your White Rock City Councillors for the past four years, it has been my honour to serve the community. I am proud of all that we have done together, but there is so much more we can do. It would have been easy for me to run as Councillor again. I have built up a reputation for making strong data driven decisions. I read staff recommendations, but I am able to ask the tough questions to get below the surface and make the right decisions.

While I enjoyed being on Council with Mayor Walker and my other City Councillors, I believe I can provide stronger leadership to get Council and Staff working together to serve our community better.

I have a proven track record of voting according to the Democracy Direct principles of listening to residents, and following my fiduciary duty to vote in the best interests of the city. I make data driven decisions, I listen to residents and local businesses to ensure I understand the issues that affect people the most.

City Hall has become a toxic work environment under Mayor Walker. Staff attrition is at an all time high under Mayor Walker with almost 100% turnover of senior staff during our term as well as about 20% of middle management have left. That’s not right and it is not being addressed.

I believe I have the skills and work experience from working in business at Nortel Network and Amazon for almost 30 years. Let me bring that level of excellence to City Hall. During my 26 years in Nortel as a software engineering leader, I received awards for being on the first Continuous Improvement team in Nortel. We took on the task of improving work productivity and employee morale. When we started, employees spent 4 out of every 8 hours of the day setting up the lab and being unproductive. As a team, we took a deep dive into the processes involved and gathered data on where the time was being wasted. We worked together to make small changes to the process and measured the improvement to ensure we were going in the right direction. It was a team effort full of collaboration and team morale climbed as we started to see improvements. After a few months, instead of spending 4 hours to set up for the day, employees set up time was reduced to 5 minutes. The company saved money, we delivered to the customers faster, and employee satisfaction went way up. I believe I can bring that same spirit of cooperation and process improvement to improve city service and boost employee job satisfaction and retention. A win-win for staff and for our residents.

As your next Mayor, I want to focus on improving our city and creating a better community feel and quality of life for our residents and local businesses.

Our Official Community Plan (OCP) talks about Connecting to the Water. I would like to do more to help seniors and other residents travel easily between the waterfront and town center. In 2019, our current City Council met with residents to determine what our taxpayers priorities were. The top three were: Reduce OCP Maximum Heights, provide clean drinking water, and build a gondola or funicular connecting the waterfront to town center.

As a Council, we passed my motion to reduce building heights in town center from a maximum of 29 stories down to 12. We also opened the Water Treatment Plant started by the previous Council and our water has never been cleaner. But we made no progress on other priorities such as the creation of the gondola or restoration of solid waste pickup for stratas. I want to change that and as your Mayor, I will ensure we get these things done and more!


Why a Gondola to the waterfront?

We now have a large population in town center, but finding parking during the Summer can be almost impossible. Imagine being able to walk from town center, take a gondola near where the farmer’s market is, and take a scenic trip down to Marine Drive near the pier.

It can be paid for through our existing CACs and grants from TransLink to enable people to travel to and from the beach without using their cars. Imagine being able to take a gondola from the beach up to the Farmer’s market using a gondola. All those living in the town center could use the gondola to support our marine drive restaurants or enjoy the beach, without the hassle of driving and all the exhaust created as people search for a parking spot. Less cars means better air and less noise and pollution. Let’s make things happen White Rock.

Vote Scott Kristjanson for Mayor of White Rock.

I may be last on the ballot, but I hope I will be first on your mind on voting day Oct 15th. It is your city by the sea, and with Scott as your Mayor, you’ll definitely have your say. Together, we can get good things done.

My Platform

  1. Stick to reduced heights and density within our OCP. No spot zoning.
  2. Ensure we have clean Drinking Water at a lower cost
  3. Improve City Services
    • Rebuilding the relationships between City Council and Staff
    • Restoration of Solid Waste Pickup for Strata’s and Restaurants
    • Review and guarantee reasonable timelines for single family home approvals
      • Single family home approvals used to take 1 month in White Rock, under Mayor Walker it now takes 2+ years. My goal in my next term is to reduce this to 6 months with the eventually goal to get it back to one month in most cases.
  4. Use our cash reserves of $17M to improve our infrastructure
    • This money was paid by developers from the last council for bonus height. Let’s use the money paid to use by developers to make our city better. It has been sitting unused for 4 years. That’s your money. Let’s create a plan to use it to make our city awesome!
    • $4M in affordable housing 
    • $3M for the Helen Fathers Memorial Walkway
    • $10M left to still available for other amenities. I will work with residents to create a plan!
    • Improve our infrastructure, roads, and parks
    • Reopen Coldicutt Ravine
    • Create an Arts Hub to replace the Landmark Gallery
    • Build a gondola to connect Town Center to Marine Drive
    • Rebuild the West wharf on the pier
  5. Support Local Businesses and help them rebuild after the pandemic
  6. Help seniors stay in their homes by reducing taxes and retaining older affordable rentals
  7. Reduce taxes by eliminating wasteful spending and consultant fees
  8. Maintain the excellent relationship we built with our Semiahmoo First Nations neighbors
  9. Support new development within our city, but only if it makes are city more livable and is supported by the majority of residents who speak at the public hearing.

What I won’t do as your new Mayor

  • I won’t repeat what Megan Knight, Bill Lawrence, and Grant Meyer did as part of the White Rock Coalition when they took donations from developers and then approved over ten high rise buildings during their term. That included approving the 21 and 24 storey Elegant towers on Oxford Street even though 98% of all White Rock residents who spoke at the Dec 7th 2015 public hearing were against it.
  • I won’t do what Mayor Walker did in 2022 when he hired a pro-development consultant to undo all the good work we did to limit heights and density in White Rock. The city paid over $160k for this consultant who wrote the “12-Apostles of Affordable Housing” document that does nothing to create affordable housing. While it is written in rosy language of affordability, it is disingenuous and advocates for more height (25 floors) in Town Center, elimination of public hearings, and the eliminations of single family neighborhoods and encouraging 4 storey commercial buildings on every street corner and conversion of single family homes to triplexes without public hearings or a vote by Council. No wonder Darryl Walker left Democracy Direct! Because Democracy Direct was about being transparent and listening to taxpayers. The “12-Apostles” eliminates all this and more.
  • I will not do what Mayor Walk did and shut down public input by closing committees such as the Water Quality Public Advisory Committee that was an important opportunity for hearing concerns and addressing them. I will act with integrity to work with Council and staff to work together and focus on providing better quality services to taxpayers at reduced costs. I will ensure residents on committees have a voice to create positive change. Together we are stronger when we listen to all voices, not just those that agree with staff.

Why a Gondola connecting Town Center to Marine Drive?

  • Great question! It is contrary to my frugal nature but its a good long term investment.
  • First, as your Mayor, I would never take on a big project like this without public consultation.
  • A gondola would allow all new residents easy access to the beach without driving.
  • The gondola would ease parking at the beach by providing an alternate to driving.
  • This would help Marine Drive businesses by making their stores easier to access.
  • It would be a tourist attraction and another reason for visitors to enjoy our beautiful city.
  • By partnering with Translink and the Province, grants will ensure taxpayers are protected.
  • Partnering with Translink, long term we can use the gondola to transport commuters to the train station for rail travel to downtown Vancouver, reducing congestion on Highway 99. No commitment from Translink yet, but even the longest journey starts with that first small step.

Little Things Matter: Our children and White Rock’s unsafe drinking water

Watch this short 7 minute video that Dr. Lanphear presented last night in White Rock on the dangers of even small amounts of lead and arsenic in our White Rock drinking water.

There are NO safe levels and fetuses and the young are being placed at risk because the city wants a “cash cow”. That’s not right!

White Rock water has far higher levels of both of these toxins in our drinking water than the maximum amount allowed. Their plans to reduce the levels will do little to help our most vulnerable residents: our children.

Fraser Health recommended in 2013 that we switch to Metro Vancouver water which has ZERO lead and arsenic.Council chose to ignore that recommendation and continue to use lead, arsenic, and manganese contaminated White Rock well water because it was a “cash cow”. That’s not right!

#VoteSmart on Oct 20th because #HealthMatters.
Vote for Democracy Direct because your health and the health of children matters.

Thank you to Dr.Lanphear and thanks to Ross Buchanan for bringing White Rock this important information about the impact of our drinking water on our health.

The Impact of Arsenic, Lead, and Other Metals in our Drinking Water

Want to get the facts on your Drinking water rather than political spin and lies? Attend this free talk, The Impact of Arsenic, Lead, and Other Metals in our Drinking Water, by Dr. Bruce Lanphear who is a respected Professor of Environmental Health at Simon Fraser University.  Brought to you by our good friend Ross Buchanan and Sponsored by The White Rock Lead, Arsenic, and Manganese Working Group.

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Dr.Lanphear's Talk

Mayor Falsely claims Moratorium on future highrises illegal. Even the dogs don’t buy that one!

Councillor Dave Chesney made a motion in Council to put a moratorium on future development of highrises in White Rock. As you may recall, Mayor Baldwin and CAO Bottrill claimed that such a move would be illegal. Mayor Baldwin and Bottrill are clearly wrong, and their claim of  “ultra vires” is laughable. It is not even a legal term. Saying it in Latin does not make it true.
Dave then amended his motion, to ask for a legal opinion on whether or not a moratorium on future developments was legal. Mayor Baldwin and his White Rock Coalition rejected this motion as well. Clearly they know that the Mayor is wrong, and a legal opinion would certainly say so, otherwise they would not block Chesney’s excellent request!
Of course it is perfectly legal, and if Council will not do what is right because they are beholden to developers, we the people still can. Sign Democracy Direct’s petition to put a moratorium on future developments, and you can make a difference.
Vickie and the Petition
Lots of taxpayers are wanting to sign the Petition for a moratorium on future highrises, including ones with fur at the City Hall today. If you would like to sign the petition you can go to democracydirect.ca where it is online or sign it at the White Rock Market on Sundays from 10 AM to 2 PM.
#VoteSmart on Oct 20th because who represents you matters!

City Council approves adding Chloramine to your drinking water, ignoring health and environmental impacts

The City’s presentation on Chloramine isn’t science, its Fake News and political spin at its worst, because it adversely impacts our health and the health of our beach’s marine life while trying to falsely paint this toxic plan as a positive step.

The way to get rid of the brown muddy water is not to hide it with Chloramine, that is known to cause toxic health problems with humans (due to leaching lead from older pipes), and known to be deadly to marine life since Chloramine does not dissipate like chlorine does (Surrey tried Chloramine several years ago, and stopped once it killed all the salmon fry in the nearby creeks).

Don’t be fooled by someone telling you that it is safe to add more Chloramine to your drinking water because trace amounts of chloramine already exist in your water. That’s not science, that’s Fake News!

Blood Components - Science. It reduces the stupid

The adverse effects of chloramine that the city failed to mention in its presentation:
a) leaches lead from city and domestic plumbing;
b) destroys rubber and plastic plumbing elements (gaskets,
toilet flappers, etc.);
c) corrodes copper pipes, joints and tanks, causing leaks within
walls and floors;
d) showers burns the skin of those with sensitivities;
e) causes respiratory problems;
f) shower vapor causes anemia and other blood disorders;
g) adversely affects the immune systems of the sick and elderly;
h) has been found to cause leukemia;
i) is harmful to babies of pregnant women;
j) cannot be used mixing infant formula;
k) has affected thousand of children’s brains across the world;
l) effects on human health have not been adequately researched;
m) effects on city and household distribution systems have not
been adequately researched
n) kills plants and insects and degrades soil;
o) kills fish and other marine life;
p) is identified by Health Canada and World Health Organization
as a significant risk compared to chlorine;
q) cannot be removed by retail filter products;
r) removal requires an special and expensive special whole-house
filtration system; costing thousands of dollars
s) is neither required nor preferred by Fraser Health.

You can read more at the White Rock Safe Water Alliance’s website here

So why does White Rock City Council keep Approving Mega-Condos when Occupancy Rates are so high?

Wonder why Mayor Baldwin and the Condo-Coalition are approving so many White Rock Mega-Condos even though vacancy rates have doubled since Mayor Baldwin took office in 2011? These projects are approved by Council with little public debate, and ignore strong opposition from the majority of residents. Why?

It is clearly NOT about saving trees as Mayor Baldwin claimed last December when Council approved the Elegant Twin 21 and 24 floor Mega-Condos on Oxford street. After last year’s Hump Clear-Cut for votes and the planned destruction of trees on Johnston Street, it is easy to see that trees are not this Council’s priority.

Approving Condos is all about making huge money for developers and speculators and their friends. Many offshore investors are flipping the same property several times before the building is even complete, creating huge profit for themselves and their friends, with no intention of ever living in the Condos themselves, all of which is pushing up prices beyond the reach for locals.

In White Rock, the Newport development on Marine and Oxford was apparently “sold out” a few months ago, but the on-site realtors are still showing display suites and now there are several MLS listings for suites in the development. However, the building is not even finished yet.
New Port at Oxford and Marine

Read the full article in the Vancouver Sun here, then decide for yourself why Mayor Baldwin and the Condo-Coalition have just approved 5 new Mega-Condos in White Rock in the last two weeks alone. It’s not about building a better community, it is a Ponzi scheme that’s destroying our community.

Here are some highlights from the article…

The presale market is the “wild west” of the industry, says realtor Steve Saretsky, who posted a blog post recently, titled “Vancouver Pre Sale Condo Ponzi Scheme.” Mr. Saretsky says it’s common that offshore investors get first dibs on presale purchases. Those purchases are assigned, or flipped, to local buyers at a premium. He says in recent months, as the condo market has hit a fever pitch, so too has the flipping.

Speculative buying is driving prices up, shutting out owner-occupiers and adding to an already unaffordable market. He sees buildings that completed long ago remain half empty. Many of the units appear on Craigslist or the Multiple Listing Service once the building is complete, a sign that buyers have already maximized the gains to be had.

“Obviously they presold them offshore,” says Mr. Saretsky. “They bought them three years ago, made a lot of money, and they don’t have any intention of living in them.

“If you call one of the developers, they say, ‘we are only selling to friends and family and we are open to the public next week.’ But what is friends and family? What is the definition? It’s basically offshore. And everybody in the industry knows it, and nobody likes to talk about it.”

Read Kerry Gold’s Globe and Mail article “Vancouver’s presale condo market reaches fever pitch” for more details.

bc-presales0421re01

 

 

Campaign Contributions in White Rock

Ever wonder where the Mayor and Councillors get their Campaign Contributions from?

The information is available from the BC Elections website: http://www.elections.bc.ca/index.php/local-elections-campaign-financing/

In the 2014 White Rock Election Campaign, the Mayor and all White Rock Coalition Candidates received significant campaign contributions from Developers, whose developments were later approved by Council. Many people in White Rock have commented that this gives the appearance of Conflict of Interest.

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Want to find out who donated to each winning candidate? Click here.

The Lack of Vision in City Hall

White Rock’s City Council’s lack of vision is truly disappointing. The City has purchased a house on Vidal Street with your tax dollars in order to create a few more parking spots near the beach at the cost $1.4 million  of your tax dollars.

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Is this really the best idea that our Mayor and City Council can come up with? Do they have Real-Estate on the brain? There are better alternatives if only they would divert their attention away from Real-Estate and start listening to new ideas from White Rock Citizens.

We need leaders who see beyond Real-Estate and short term solutions.

I think a far better idea would be to partner with White Rock Elementary and the Surrey School district to create a parkade on their school grounds. This would inject needed cash into the school, level out their playing fields, and provide hundreds of new parking spaces near five-corners while also providing a needed revenue stream for both the school and White Rock, and also supporting local businesses.

We could tap into Federal Development Funds and get much of this paid for by the government in support of local economic growth.

Imagine several levels of underground parking under the school grounds, with their existing soccer fields placed on top of the parkade, making the soccer fields level with the rest of the school grounds. Our kids get better facilities, the school has a revenue stream, White Rock City Hall makes money, and local businesses pull in more customers.

Everybody wins.

To connect with the waterfront and those local businesses as well, a vernicular could be built from five-corners down to the promenade for about the same cost as this house on Vidal that City Hall just purchased.

Let’s elect leaders with long term vision that improves our community, not leaders who choose to clearcut our forests, berate citizens who offer alternatives, and who pave over our city with High Rise towers in the name of Densification and Greed.

Who is being abusive at City Hall?

Mayor Baldwin calls Councillor Father’s suggestion “Ludicrous” when she suggests that the new rules regarding abusive and disrespectful behaviour at City Council Meetings should apply to everyone, including the Mayor. Such comments by the Mayor are abusive and disrespectful, and Mayor Baldwin proves Helen’s point in doing so. Leaders hold themselves to a higher standard, Bullies believe rules apply to other people.

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City of White Rock targets ‘abusive’ residents

Read the Peace Arch News article here. In this article, Mayor Baldwin claims that when he called himself “the Boss”, it was someone asked “Who is the Boss here?”. That makes it sound very reasonable, but that’s not what happened. Then later in the same article, Mayor Baldwin called it an Urban Myth that he ever said those words. He said those words, but he didn’t. Quite the feat to be able to contradict yourself in the same article Mayor Baldwin. But what actually happened?

I was at the Feb 25th 2013 Public Hearing on the proposed development of the White Rock Muffler site when Mayor Baldwin said those words “I am the Boss”. But the way Mayor Baldwin describes the context of how this happened in this article is pure fiction.

Mayor Baldwin made this comment during the Public Hearing on the White Rock Muffler development proposal that over 100 residents came to voice their opposition to. As I recall it, several residents were told (improperly) by Mayor Baldwin that they could not get up to speak again. At a public meeting, Mayor and Council are mandated by law to listen and not interfere or limit the public from speaking. The public is allowed by law to speak as many times as they want. But Mayor Baldwin got quite rude and told people to be quiet. When residents got upset and asked why they would not be allowed to speak, Mayor Baldwin said “Because I am the Boss”.

(You can read more about it here in the Peace Arch News:
http://www.peacearchnews.com/opinion/letters/199000761.html
and http://www.peacearchnews.com/news/197882941.html )

My original post following the public hearing back in 2013 is here. At the time of the public meeting, I was still a Mayor Baldwin supporter but was shocked at his behaviour and at how this proposed development was passed, when all but two residents spoke against the development.

I was a Baldwin supporter at the time, but not after this Public Meeting. His behavior and bullying of the public was a disgrace in my opinion. I have chaired many meetings in my career, including the Nov 10th 2014 all-candidates meeting, and had never even heard of a chair of a public meeting saying anything so offensive and so bullying before that day. Mayor Baldwin is many things, but he is not a good Mayor.

A Mayor has to have good people skills and be willing to listen to views that disagree with his own. That is how we gather the best ideas and create the best White Rock we can. In this article, when Mayor Baldwin calls Helen Father’s comment “ludicrous” because she dared to suggest that rules of etiquette should apply to everyone in the room, including the chair, Baldwin is showing his true colors indeed.

Major Baldwin is open to all ideas, so long as they agree with his own. And apparently Major Baldwin is open to imposing draconian anti-democratic rules on everyone, provided those rules do not apply to him. Well played Mr. Baldwin.

The only “abusive” behavior going on in White Rock appears to be the abuse of power at City Hall and the Destruction of Local Democracy in the name of Densification, Development, and Greed.

At least that’s my opinion. What’s yours?

 

The use of Chloramine and the Potential for Damage to Aquatic Life

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White Rock City Hall
15322 Buena Vista Ave,
White Rock, BC V4B 1Y6
January 5, 2016

Mayor: Wayne Baldwin and Council

Re: The use of Chloramine and the Potential for Damage to Aquatic Life

As you may know, on October 17, 1989 and July 9, 1990 there occurred two breaks in Surrey water mains that dumped chloramine-laced water into the Fergus Creek, which is a sub catchment of the Little Campbell River (LCR). The extreme damage to fish and benthic invertebrates officially took almost a decade for recovery but we know some damage was permanent. In fact it is only with huge recent investments by the City of Surrey, the Department of Highways and local volunteer organizations that Fergus Creek is what it is today. Some White Rock storm water flows into the LCR, some of it via Fergus Creek.

These events were a huge wake-up call. It was because of the above-mentioned spills that the Greater Vancouver Regional District followed up on this disaster by conducting extensive public consultation and then deciding on Chlorine over Chloramine for the entire Lower Mainland. Our members have seen government at all levels deal with scheduled and unscheduled pollution and have witnessed many types of failure. We recently watched the aftermath of an accident-damaged fuel tank on a truck that had poured hundreds of gallons of diesel directly into the main stem of the Little Campbell River. Firefighters and Ministry of Environment responders showed themselves hopelessly ill prepared for such an accident with inadequate oil absorption supplies. Nobody wants these kinds of disasters to fish bearing streams and while diesel fuel is toxic, some of it will evaporate but chloramine will not.

An issue unique to White Rock is the non-point pollution aspect of chloramine. It’s common knowledge that many of the strata units in White Rock contain dedicated car washes within their concrete parkades. All water from this type of activity plus power washing of parkade slabs goes directly to the ocean through storm drains. On top of that, on-street car washing, pressure washing and a portion of the at home and strata irrigation garden watering is sent directly by storm drains to the Semiahmoo Bay. Then there are city owned automatic sprinklers especially along the waterfront that suffer breakages from time to time.
Based on many years of combined watershed experience we know that very little of the water involved in the cleaning of water mains, accidental breakage of water mains, and admittedly the rare event of firefighting will ever be effectively treated to neutralize the chloramine in the water. It is a fact that chloramine run-off from water hydrants or broken mains that enter storm drains, streams, and rivers, endangers the lives of fish, amphibians, water invertebrates, and other sensitive marine animals.

There is a significant amount of evidence that identifies “vacated” and “dead” zones in marine areas adjacent to inhabited areas that use chloramine. Of course people will say that’s correlation not causation, as no one will underwrite the necessary science. The data gaps are still huge, but the people that know those areas still know what they know and chloramine is suspect.

Chloramine, which is an extremely persistent compound, is a dangerous substance in water and has been locally proven to destroy fish and benthic organisms in rivers and streams and has the potential to destroy sea life close to the ocean outfalls in Semiahmoo Bay.

The Semiahmoo First Nations once relied on the abundance of sea life in Semiahmoo Bay but over the years point and non-point pollution reduced the tens of thousands of fish available to them to just a few hundred. The abundant clams and other molluscs, which were once available all year around, were polluted too. Even the crab fishing has been diminished and here we have the City of White Rock wanting to pollute the ocean with another toxic pollutant.

The Canadian EPA ruled chloramine “toxic” as defined in Section 64 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, as a result of a study assessing the impact of chloraminated water discharges entering the environment, particularly on fish.

Research states that chloramine must be filtered out before it reaches bodies of water. Does White Rock really have a tested, comprehensive plan to do this and will there be a surcharge for Chloramine contaminated sewage being sent to the wastewater treatment plants in Metro before being dumped into the Gulf of Georgia?

Will you be engaging and consulting in a comprehensive review on this issue of Chloramine in the drinking water like the GVRD in the early 1990’s?

Please know that we are completely opposed to chloramine being used in White Rock water and will advocate in every possible venue against it.

There was a time when the citizens of White Rock were proud and boasted of their pure drinking water and people from miles around would come and drink the water and remark on how wonderful and different the water tasted right from the tap. It was not unusual for visitors to take jugs of water home. We understand there is a complex and changing regulatory environment. We also believe that introducing chloramine into this once pristine water supply has the potential for causing many unintended consequences.

Respectfully,
Phillip Milligan
President
Little Campbell Watershed Society
1284-184th Street, Surrey, BC V3Z 9R9

c.c. Rebecca Reid, Regional Director, Fisheries Management, DFO
c.c. Bruce Reid, Regional Oceans Manager, DFO
c.c. City of Surrey Dept. of Environment and Drainage
c.c. Semiahmoo First Nation
c.c. Drayton Harbor Shellfish Protection District
c.c. Friends of Semiahmoo Bay
c.c. Surrey Environmental Partners