Elegant public hearing deferred

Meeting put back to at least the end of November due to concerns public consultation on the project had not been 'sufficiently documented'

Only a few hours before it was scheduled to take place, the public hearing for a contentious White Rock development proposal was deferred – “until further notice.”

The hearing, on bylaws for the twin residential-tower Elegant development at 1454 Oxford St. – in the Everall neighbourhood of the city’s west side – was to have started at 5:30 p.m. Monday (Oct. 17) at White Rock Community Centre.

Instead, it has been put on hold at least until the end of November, following legal advice received by the city.

The hearing has already been postponed once, along with the hearing for the equally contentious Forge Properties highrise development proposal in the same neighbourhood, previously deferred due to a scheduling conflict with the proponents and yet to be rescheduled.

A handful of residents and other interested parties who arrived at the centre for the Elegant hearing were greeted by printed notices and apologies from city staff members, including city clerk Tracey Arthur, planning manager Carl Isaak and Kurt Alberts, acting director of planning and development services.

But it appeared that many other potential participants had already learned of the deferment online through website postings – including at www.peacearchnews.com – or emailed exchanges.

A notice posted on the city website Monday afternoon apologized “for the inconvenience,” but offered no explanation for the deferment.

However, city administrator Dan Bottrill told Peace Arch News late Monday afternoon that he had “made the difficult decision” to defer the meeting that morning after receiving some legal advice that – under Section 475 of the Local Government Act – public consultation on the project had not been “sufficiently documented.”

“We had supplied all the paperwork,” he said, “but (I decided) we could do more to improve it.

“The real issue is that we really wanted the public hearing to stick to the merits of the application,” he added, rather than being “distracted by procedural issues.”

Bottrill would not elaborate on what could have been improved in the documentation, but said that a corporate report on the process will be submitted to council at a Nov. 7 meeting.

He said it is likely the public hearing will be rescheduled “towards the end of November.”

City communications manager Farnaz Farrokhi said members of the public who had emailed correspondence on the hearing had been emailed back to inform them of the deferment.

Bottrill noted that notices had also been posted on the doors of city hall.

The hearings would have concerned a change in official community plan designation from multi-unit residential – low density to multi-unit residential – high density, rezoning from civic/institutional use to comprehensive development zone, and a phased development agreement to secure a community amenity contribution and regulate construction.

Opponents of the proposal, for two buildings, 24 and 21 storeys high – providing a total of 121 residential units – argue that it is out of keeping with the character of the neighbourhood, that it will tax existing infrastructure, that it poses an environmental risk to the White Rock aquifer and is too close to existing city water wells on Oxford Street.

Questions have also been raised by a number of residents about a contingency of rezoning of the property being a condition of sale of some of the land (formerly property of the Epcor water utility) to Elegant, and also about contributions the developer made to campaigns of some city council members in the 2014 municipal election.


Just Posted

VIDEO: Surrey Vaisakhi Parade floods Newton streets

Hundreds of thousands of people attended the annual event

Setting the stage for emerging performers

Variety fundraiser and ongoing open-mics showcase local talent

VAISAKHI EXPLAINED: Founding of the Khalsa was a seminal event in Sikh history

There are five K’s – articles of faith – worn by baptized Sikhs

Four Surrey students head to New Brunswick for Canada-wide science fair

Three projects move to nationals following regional fair at KPU

Man ‘seriously’ injured in crash after driving wrong way on Highway 17: Surrey RCMP

Police say the sedan hit a transport truck, then another car

Dashcam captures close call between minivan, taxi at busy Vancouver intersection

To make the footage more nerve-wracking, a pedestrian can be seen standing at the corner

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Seattle’s 4-20 ‘protestival’ enjoys tolerance, some support – and B.C. could do the same

Seattle’s Hempfest a large-scale occasions with vendors, prominent musical acts and thousands of attendees

Most Read

l -->