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Architect ‘fears’ loss of care beds if tower rejected

Mark Ankenman, architect of a complex-care tower proposed for the Evergreen Baptist Care Home campus, addresses council members at the Dec. 16 land-use committee meeting. - Tracy Holmes photo
Mark Ankenman, architect of a complex-care tower proposed for the Evergreen Baptist Care Home campus, addresses council members at the Dec. 16 land-use committee meeting.
— image credit: Tracy Holmes photo

If White Rock rejects a proposed eight-storey complex-care tower, the city will likely lose the new beds entirely, the project architect cautioned.

“If this project doesn’t go ahead, I fear… these beds will be lost to White Rock,” Mark Ankenman said during a last month’s meeting of the land-use committee.

The 199-bed project – eyed for the Evergreen Baptist site, 1550 Oxford St. – includes 92 new complex-care beds announced in October by Fraser Health.

In light of “considerable angst” surrounding the proposed tower – which would replace two four-storey buildings – city officials opted to delay public hearings until the new year.

They also asked the architect for more information, including a shadowing profile that would show the tower’s impact on views from neighbouring buildings.

Coun. Al Campbell said his key concern is the impact to residents of the 12-storey Belaire, who have also expressed concern over increased traffic and blocked sunlight.

About three dozen residents attended the first land-use meeting, held Nov. 18. At the next, Dec. 16, the crowd was standing-room only. Neither was open for public comments.

At the latter, Ankenman used computer modelling to show the tower would not take away any southwest ocean views from the Belaire, but would impact southern views.

A majority of the Belaire units are southwest-oriented, he noted.

While Fraser Health has required that existing beds remain until the new facility is ready, Campbell said he’d prefer to see the tower rise from the same footprint.

“Right now, it’ll be in the face of people that weren’t expecting it to be there,” Campbell said said. “I’d like you really to go find another way to do this.”

Asked if the new building could be moved closer to the buildings it will replace, Ankenman said that would have to be negotiated with the fire department. If approval is gained there, it could be done “with great hardship,” he said.

“We’re willing to reopen that discussion.”

Council is expected to consider first and second reading of the requested bylaw amendment Monday.

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