“Considerable angst” over a proposal to build an eight-storey, 199-bed complex-care tower on the Evergreen Baptist site has prompted White Rock officials to delay public hearings until the new year.
“There seems to be a lot of questions,” Mayor Wayne Baldwin said, following a report to the city’s land-use and planning committee.
“We need to ask those questions directly from the source.”
According to the staff report, the tower proposed for 1550 Oxford St. would replace two existing four-storey buildings that house 107 complex-care beds, for a net increase of 92 beds.
Planner Connie Halbert said the existing units are required by Fraser Health to remain until the new facility is ready, as there is nowhere to shift patients who are using the beds.
The health authority announced the project in October.
For residents of White Rock’s Belaire building – a 12-storey condominium north of the Evergreen campus – concerns include the impact to views, increased traffic and blocked sunlight.
About three dozen residents attended the land-use meeting, which was not open for public comments.
However, when Halbert was questioned regarding how notice of a Nov. 5 public-information meeting was carried out – from which feedback was largely positive – several attendees cleared their throats in apparent disagreement with her assurance it was “delivered in a timely fashion.”
Halbert confirmed there had initially been an issue with mailing labels that resulted in not all residents receiving the notice. City manager Dan Bottrill elaborated that once the problem was discovered, the strata president was approached with an offer for staff to deliver the notices, but “we were advised that was not necessary.”
“As evidence of that, there were 36 proxies,” Bottrill said, referring to feedback received.
Councillors also expressed concern with the application. Coun. Helen Fathers said she has “great reservations” and Couns. Larry Robinson and Al Campbell said renderings in the agenda package are inadequate. They suggested a shadowing profile and more specifics on elevations.
“It’s really hard to understand elevations on these drawings,” Campbell said. “I understand elevation – this means nothing.”
At Baldwin’s suggestion, the committee voted unanimously to discuss the project at a further land-use meeting and to defer any public hearing until the new year.