The public hearings for two contentious Everall neighbourhood developments – the Elegant two-tower residential project on Oxford Street and the Forge 12-storey residential building on Thrift Avenue – are returning to the City of White Rock’s schedule.
But also on the agenda are new public information meetings for the two projects, which are now subject to phased development agreements with the city.
The information meeting for the Elegant project will be Saturday, Nov. 19, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Centennial Park Leisure Centre Hall at 14600 North Bluff Rd.
The information meeting for the Forge project has been scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 26, noon to 2:30 p.m.
The public hearing for the Elegant project – for bylaws which would amend the Official Community Plan, zone the property (at 1454 Oxford St.), grant a development permit and approve a phased development agreement for the project – will take place at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 22 at White Rock Community Centre.
The public hearing for the Forge project (at 14825/35 Thrift Ave.) – which concerns bylaws amending the OCP, granting a development permit and approving a phased development agreement – has been scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 5 p.m. at White Rock Community Centre.
The scheduled dates follow council’s Nov. 7 endorsement of a new consultation strategy presented in a corporate report from planning and development services acting director Kurt Alberts.
Under the new strategy – intended to set a consistent policy on consultation with “persons, organizations and authorities” affected by development – public consultation on any update, repeal or amendment of the OCP will require at least one preliminary open house or public information meeting, and a public hearing on the specific bylaw.
The hearing on the Elegant project – designed to include two residential towers, one 24-storeys and the other 21-storeys – had been postponed once, from Oct. 6 to Oct. 17, and again, just hours before that meeting was scheduled to begin.
City administrator Dan Bottrill said at that time that the public hearing had been deferred following legal advice to the city that under Section 475 of the Local Government Act, public consultation for the project had not been “sufficiently documented.”
The land for the project was originally purchased from Epcor, former owner of the City’s water utility, at a price of some $14.5 million.
Opponents claim the buildings are out of character for the Everall neighborhood, and will strain existing infrastructure while threatening the White Rock aquifer, and that engineering and environmental-impact studies have not been produced for the development.
The latter claims have been disputed by Elegant Developments principal Jay Minhas.
The Forge project hearing was also postponed from the initial Oct. 6 date to Oct. 17, but had been put on hold at the developer’s request due to a scheduling conflict.
The project, just to the northwest of the company’s Royce development on Thrift Avenue, has been criticized by residents who say it will impinge on views and access to the existing building.