More to lose than new care beds
Re: Architect fears loss of beds, January 9.
We are not surprised by architect Mark Ankenman’s statement that if the proposal for a 101.7-foot tall, “L” shaped, eight-storey, 199-unit residential-care building squeezed onto the existing parking lot at 1550 Oxford St. does not get approved, he fears “these beds will be lost to White Rock.”
It may sound odd that a Surrey resident should express such a seemingly heartfelt concern for White Rock, but after all, should this project not go ahead, Ankenman’s firm could stand to lose thousands of dollars in development and management fees.
But what surprises us is what Ankenman does not say.
Ankenman does not say that as 107 beds of the 199-bed proposal are already there, had he and his clients, the Baptist Evergreen Care Society, chosen to pursue a plan for construction of the 92 new care beds awarded last October by contract from Fraser Health, Evergreen would have had a much smoother ride from the community.
Ankenman does not say that, instead, he and his clients chose to seek aggressive “spot re-zoning” and use the economic opportunity presented through the 92-new-bed contract to try to build a “mega-building” of 199 units, while leaving the old 107-unit structure in place for at least nine months following construction.
Ankenman does not say that not only does this approach preserve the revenue generated each month, it generates significant construction cost savings.
Ankenman does not say the plan includes removal of 22 mature “protected trees” from a site that is in a designated “significant stand of trees” area.
Ankenman does not say that the plan would have all Evergreen residents, employees, visitors and construction workers park their vehicles on Oxford Street, on Everall Street, at Centennial Arena or wherever else people could find to park during the two years when no on-site parking would be available.
Ankenman does not say that the massive project has been pushed through the approval process with the contention that no official-community-plan amendment is required, no matter how the project would change the density and OCP-permitted uses of the property and blemish the landscape of the parklike setting with a utilitarian, hospital-like institutional structure.
Ankenman does say in the article that “a majority” of neighbouring Belaire units would not be affected by the existence of the towers 20 feet from the Belaire property line. In fact, at least 20 of the 48 Belaire units will be directly visually affected by the presence of these tall, massive twin towers, if they are approved.
Ankenman has said the developer is now “willing to reopen that discussion” when it comes to considering alternative plans. No doubt, Ankenman is fearful his maneuverings through the complexities of White Rock’s approval processes will not result in his usual successes.
Wipe away those crocodile tears about this possible loss of beds to White Rock should your current project not get approved, Mr. Architect. We are sure there will be many opportunities down the road to keep your revenue stream strong and flowing back to your offices in Surrey.
Dennis Lypka, Belaire strata president, White Rock