Buena Vista Avenue resident Hollie Whitehead voices opposition to a project proposed for the corner of Oxford Street and Marine Drive

Opinions voiced at Oxford Street public hearing

Comments on a project proposed for the corner of Oxford Street and Marine Drive ran the gamut at White Rock city hall Monday, when about 50 residents turned out to a public hearing to have their say.

Comments on a project proposed for the corner of Oxford Street and Marine Drive ran the gamut at White Rock city hall Monday, when about 50 residents turned out to a public hearing to have their say.

Vehemently opposed by some and strongly supported by others, Marine Terraces is proposed as a three-building residential/commercial complex on 1.14 acres between Buena Vista Avenue and Marine Drive, including the White Rock Muffler site.

To proceed, Georgia Laine Developments needs amendments made to the city’s Official Community Plan and zoning – changes many residents have maintained should not be considered. Reasons cited Monday include the impact to traffic congestion, views and an already challenging parking situation; the possibility the developer could simply decide to flip the site; the fact that residents who have asked for even minor amendments have been turned down flat; and, because rules are rules.

“Your Official Community Plan and bylaws are contracts with your residents, like me,” said Hollie Whitehead, a Buena Vista Avenue resident, suggesting council entertain proposals that require no OCP amendments. “Wasn’t that the purpose of creating a plan in the first place?”

In addition to speaking, Whitehead submitted a list of 47 others who are also opposed to the project.

Supporters told council the development is long overdue and would “establish an intelligent precedent” for future proposals. In addition, the developer has made significant changes to accommodate concerns raised, including those surrounding heights, said White Rock resident Larry Robinson.

Robinson noted the site is a liability to the city, given that it’s on a floodplain and needs remediation. Any developer taking on that liability “should be applauded,” he said.

Dan Saunders, who is part-owner of the White Rock Muffler site, said benefits to the city would include jobs, paid parking spaces and about $200,000 per year in taxes.

He noted the property was offered to the city for purchase two years ago, and could have been bought and used at that time for whatever purpose officials deemed appropriate.

“Obviously, council turned that down. As a citizen of White Rock, I think this project makes sense.”

In a written submission supporting the project, restaurant owner Nicholas Popoff said he will be forced to consider moving his operations to South Surrey if White Rock doesn’t “keep up with the times and understand that density is important to keeping business in White Rock.”

While opponents said they recognized change is inevitable, they are concerned if the city approves the amendments, it will set a precedent for future projects.

Roper Avenue resident Bryan Boyce told council there is still a lot of confusion amongst residents as to what is at stake and why the proposal appears to be moving through the process so quickly. He appealed to the politicians to take their time on a decision.

“There’s so much to be considered for such a precious piece of property,” Boyce said. “We just ask that you really take a hard, hard look at this process and get everybody onboard before you move forward.”

Some speakers criticized Georgia Laine president Robert Wilson – comments architect Tim Ankenman took exception to.

“No man that I know has done more for the Downtown Eastside than my client,” he said, citing projects in Vancouver that have benefited the less fortunate.

In response to concerns about traffic congestion, Ankenman cited a plan to have “five or six” communal cars available to residents of Marine Terraces. He agreed to work on a traffic plan with city staff, and also assured that proponents would not come back after the fact asking to build higher.

Ankenman noted he sat on the city’s advisory design panel when a project was proposed for the same site – minus the two residential lots considered in the latest proposal – about 10 years ago. It didn’t go ahead because no one thought to include the two lots and no one wanted to take on the necessary remediation, he said.

If the Georgia Laine development is approved, it means “getting this site cleaned up once and for all,” Ankenman said.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

South Surrey, White Rock seniors find their groove

Parking-lot line-dancing is helping keep Kent Street Activity Centre members moving during pandemic

‘Family meetup centres’ helping White Rock seniors reconnect with loved ones

Converted shipping container allows face-to-face time while ensuring physical distancing

Surrey seniors call Seniors’ Centre Without Walls, a new-to-B.C. program

‘Crazy coincidence’ saw program connect soon after COVID-19 pandemic hit

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Surrey pushing the poor out of Whalley, public hearing speakers say

‘There is a war on the poor here in Surrey,’ resident Dave Diewert tells city council

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

COVID claims 23rd Langley Lodge patient, making it the deadliest outbreak in B.C.

Coronavirus kills another senior at Langley care home, bringing B.C. total to 166

Family of dead B.C. football star urge changes to mental health policies in hospitals

Uko family disappointed in actions of Regina hospital, hosting public funeral service this weekend

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Maple Ridge woman fights WorkSafe BC over police widow’s pension

Dalila Vroom says husband, Const. Rob Vroom, died as a result of PTSD from time with Abbotsford PD

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

Most Read

l -->