For White Rock mayoral challenger David Bradshaw, this year’s election has a resounding theme.
“To me, this whole election is citizens versus developers, and I’m all for the citizens,” Bradshaw said.
The Victoria Avenue resident – who describes himself as a legal advocate and occupational rehabilitation counsellor – waded into the election fray the day before nominations closed.
It is his first venture into municipal politics; a decision he says was sparked in part by his own experiences with city hall, as well as by what he has seen in the two years he’s called White Rock home.
Bradshaw, who declined to give his age, said he moved to the waterfront city to retire and to escape overcrowding and trends that he saw in both Richmond and Burnaby, where quiet subdivisions were being turned into mega-developments.
“I came to White Rock to get away from this, (but) the same wave is happening here.
“And that concerns me greatly. This is my line in the sand.”
Bradshaw first appeared in the pages of Peace Arch News in June 2013, when he spoke at a public hearing to oppose an application to increase the licenced capacity of the Sandpiper Pub. He reappeared last July, to share his frustrations regarding a Marine Drive development that is being built in front of his home; and again last week, in a story regarding Shaw’s cancellation of the White Rock mayoral debate.
Bradshaw described PAN’s coverage of the two most recent issues as “unbalanced,” and questioned why he wasn’t given the last word.
Regarding cancellation of the mayoral debate – a move triggered by Bradshaw’s decision to decline an invitation to participate on the basis that he wouldn’t be given the questions and topics in advance – Bradshaw wanted to know why one quote in particular wasn’t in the PAN article.
“I would like you to quote what I said to you earlier, that I would welcome any debate in my community,” he said.
Bradshaw said he is running a “grassroots” campaign that focuses on quality of life, the Official Community Plan and finances.
The “high-spending ways” of those in control at city hall need to be curbed, and taxes reduced, he said.
Asked how he would make that happen, Bradshaw said a forensic audit and comparison of the city’s taxes with those of similar-sized communities are needed to identify where the issues are rooted.
“Let’s measure things up,” he said. “We have to bring taxes down.”
He also wants to ease the journey for small-business owners, who pay significantly higher taxes than counterparts in Surrey.
White Rock’s OCP – more specifically, the practice of swaying from it – is another concern for Bradshaw. It happens too often, and “totally defeats the purpose,” he said.
“From my perspective, the OCP should be the standard to follow,” he said. “I think the evidence shows they have not respected the OCP, and I attribute that to the interests of the developer being heard.
“The OCP should be the paramount document when it comes to development.”
Regarding efforts to relocate the BNSF rail line from the waterfront, Bradshaw said he supports the concept, but isn’t convinced much can be done at the city level.
“People shouldn’t be misled into thinking the small community of White Rock can do very much,” he said. “I agree with them that we should do everything that we can. (But) it’s like White Rock trying to change the Criminal Code. You have to be realistic in your expectations.”
He’s more interested in knowing what preparations are in place “for the imminent danger of derailment.”
“These trains never stop, and we don’t even know what they’re carrying.”
He agrees with the city’s ongoing efforts to take over control of the water supply.
Bradshaw said he would like to see a greater focus on the arts, efforts to attract architecturally redeeming development and higher-quality, boutique development.
He said qualities that would make him a good mayor include that he is task-oriented and a communicator.
One change Bradshaw promised if elected is a move away from formal-speak at city hall. Titles such as ‘Your Worship’ divorce the mayor from the community, he said.