Wrong place for highrises
A major development proposal for a 12-storey, 109-unit highrise in the 1500-block of Vidal Street could open the gates to building highrise apartments in residential areas of White Rock.
At the developer’s required presentation meeting, a supportive council member and local realtor, Larry Robinson, enthused that “this is a new council – not the council of past years.”
The plan for the city, apparently, is to allow 25-storey highrises in Town Centre “sloping down” in height through the current apartment area going west to the 12-storey highrise on Vidal.
Another local developer in attendance was outraged that while he recently ran into opposition to building townhouses on the same block, there is now a high-density project proposed for the same street. When he questioned how many trees were to be removed from the park-like property, he was given a sideways answer about ones to be kept.
Vidal Street is a narrow, quiet residential street with little parking as it is. From Thrift it doesn’t even go straight through to North Bluff – you must turn right on Vine and left on Blackwood to exit. The neighbourhood is low- and medium-density, with older three-storey condos and new townhome units, and the property in question is just over an acre with 14 well-kept townhomes. The current density is 11 units per acre – the proposed is 90. Since a highrise apartment does not, in any way, “fit into the overall character of the area” (see Bylaw 1887), the proposal should not even be considered.
I am not against development – as long as it fits the character of the area. Townhomes on Vidal and Everall fit in well and have low impact on views, light or street parking. A review of the November 2012 list of Current Significant Development Applications (www.whiterockcity.ca) finds five applications for townhouse units in this area. Applications for other apartment/condo areas include three-storey, four-storey and several townhouse projects. Applications for higher buildings are limited to the town centre – where they should remain.
Most of us chose to live in the White Rock area because of its charm, and want to preserve its unique character. We must join our voices in opposing highrise/high-density buildings in residential areas.
I encourage everyone who disagrees with this proposed 12-storey building, and what it means to future development of White Rock, to view the building site, to write to city council and to attend any public meeting which may be set.
Let’s ensure that our city values people over profit!
Scott Robbins, White Rock