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White Rock townhouse plans opposed

A five-unit townhouse complex is proposed for 15118 Thrift Ave.  - Tracy Holmes photo
A five-unit townhouse complex is proposed for 15118 Thrift Ave.
— image credit: Tracy Holmes photo

Two townhouse projects proposed for White Rock received little support during public hearings last week.

The projects – a 20-unit complex eyed for 1526, 1536, 1550 and 1556 Finlay St., and a five-unit complex proposed for 15118 Thrift Ave. – both require zoning bylaw amendments to proceed.

But the majority of those who spoke July 9 said neither development, if approved, would improve the areas – or the city as a whole – for those who already live there.

“(It’s) too many townhouses on a property of less than an acre,” Louise Grant told council of the Finlay Street proposal, which would be built directly east of Peace Arch Hospital and south of the power station at North Bluff Road.

“It seems to me that parking’s probably inadequate, too.”

Grant, who owns property at the corner of Maple Street and Russell Avenue, also named too little green space, small units and the complex’s proximity to a “long-term existing residence,” as among concerns.

Paul Stanton, the city’s director of planning, told council the project is proposed for the Eastside Residential Infill Area, a zone created to permit construction of narrow-lot, single-family homes or townhouses. Featuring four blocks of buildings, the complex would offer two parking spaces per unit and a central access point, he said.

Russell Avenue resident Donald Fleming said he is worried the community is becoming one of holding properties. He described three of the lots slated for the project as “really run down” and said he is concerned people are buying up properties without having any interest in the community itself.

“It’s more an investment in their own bank account,” Fleming said.

Regarding the development proposed for 15118 Thrift Ave., city clerk Tracey Arthur said eight letters of opposition – along with a 22-name petition – had been received. Five area residents spoke against the project, all of whom cited concerns about proposed laneway access.

The lane is already “very, very crowded,” said Ron Powell, who lives in a 34-unit Winter Street building that backs onto the lane.

“It is going to be bedlam if this goes in as proposed,” Powell warned.

In introducing the project, Stanton noted the developer is proposing fewer units than what is permitted. Project architect Maciej Dembek, of Barnett Dembek Architects, assured steps had been taken to address concerns. It is a “fairly modest proposal,” Dembek added.

Proposed amendments are scheduled for a council vote July 23, Mayor Wayne Baldwin said.

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