In introducing a motion for a moratorium on multiple residence applications – later withdrawn – Coun. David Chesney said he could not ‘sit by idly and watch further runaway development’ in White Rock. File photo

In introducing a motion for a moratorium on multiple residence applications – later withdrawn – Coun. David Chesney said he could not ‘sit by idly and watch further runaway development’ in White Rock. File photo

Proposed moratorium on White Rock highrises called ‘illegal’

Coun David Chesney withdraws motion after advice from city manager

An attempt by White Rock Coun. David Chesney to establish a formal moratorium on highrise development until after the fall civic election was shot down at Monday’s council meeting.

Mayor Wayne Baldwin asked chief administrative officer Dan Bottrill whether such a move by council would be “ultra vires.”

The motion that is being proposed…would be ultra vires,” Bottrill confirmed. “In layman’s terms, it’s illegal, it’s outside of the law. Any property owner that is compliant with the zoning bylaw, the OCP, that wishes to bring a development application is certainly entitled to do so. Any property owner that wants to come forward to the city and submit a building permit would be able to do so. In fact, if we didn’t process building permits it would lead to some litigation, liability and compensation.”

“In other words, Coun. Chesney’s motion would have council conduct illegal action,” Baldwin said, asking, “do you still want to make your motion?”

Chesney said he would withdraw it.

“I’m surprised that this was not alerted to me when I filed the motion,” he said. “And staff was well aware that this was here. To sit and wait until we finally arrive at this point in time, I have a hard time understanding that. But I will withdraw the motion – and let the building begin.”

Chesney’s motion had called on council to “endorse a moratorium on all development and building permits pertaining to all and any multiple-residence applications until after the upcoming civic election… Oct. 20.”

Introducing the motion, he said he could not “sit by idly and watch further runaway development.”

“This council over the past 3½ years has approved no less than 14 highrises in our small community. Of those 14 towers, three of them fit the OCP,” he said. “All the rest required amendments to the OCP… I’m urging council to step back, take a breath, let the remainder of this term go through.

Our city has completely exploded, as we well know, anybody who tries to traverse anywhere in our city. To be piling on more… is absolutely not in the best interest of residents or the community.”

“The biggest project going on was approved 12 years ago,” Baldwin said, after Chesney withdrew the motion. “The second biggest, if you discount PARC, was approved about 10 years ago. I don’t think a couple of building permits is going to make that much difference in the overall scheme of things.”

Following the meeting, former Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Ken Jones – a former member of White Rock council – told Peace Arch News he doubted a moratorium, or some city measure to slow the approval process, is actually illegal.

“We had a moratorium on such buildings when I was on council,” he recalled.

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

Just Posted

A memorial remains near the site of where South Surrey mechanic Paul Prestbakmo was killed in August 2019. (Tracy Holmes photo)
Pixabay image
Surrey recovers 29,000 jobs it lost to pandemic

That’s according to Surrey Board of Trade’s fifth Surrey Labour Market Intelligence Report on COVID-19

Surrey RCMP is asking for the public’s help in finding a missing 32-year-old, Gurwinder Kular, who was last seen on Jan. 15, 2021 near 72nd Avenue and 137th Street. (Photo: Surrey RCMP handout)
Surrey RCMP looking for missing man last seen on Jan. 15

Police say Gurwinder Kular was last seen near 72nd Avenue and 137th Street

Desmond Tompkins helped curate and host a youth art show at the South Surrey/White Rock Learning Centre. (Contributed photo)
South Surrey/White Rock Learning Centre art show highlights ‘diverse perspectives’

With COVID-19 protocols in place, youth art show underway

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

Ben Tyler was working on a Nicola area ranch when he disappeared. File photo
Ben Tyler was working on a Nicola area ranch when he disappeared. File photo
2 years after his riderless horse was found, police believe Merritt cowboy was killed

Two years after he went missing, Ben Tyner’s family makes video plea for information

A ground worker wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 unloads lobsters from a WestJet Airlines flight at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday, January 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Trudeau teases stricter travel measures; Canadians flying to U.S. now need COVID test

Prime minister says measures need to not hurt imports and essential trade

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Seats in the waiting area of domestic departures lounge of Calgary International Airport are seen with caution tape on them on June 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
3-in-4 Canadians in favour of banning interprovincial travel: Poll

According to Research Co., 80 per cent of Canadians would like to see restrictions imposed

The shirts sell for $45, with 30 per cent of proceeds from each sale going to Battered Women’s Support Services in Vancouver. (Madame Premier/Sarah Elder-Chamanara)
Canadian company launches ‘hysterical’ T-Shirt to combat health officials’ use of word

A partnership with Tamara Taggart will see women broadcast the word on a T-shirt or tote bag

ICBC has seen savings on crash and injury claims in the COVID-19 pandemic, with traffic on B.C. roads reduced. (Penticton Western News)
ICBC opens online calculator for rate savings starting in May

Bypassing courts expected to save 20% on average

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
16% boom predicted for B.C. real estate sales in 2021: experts

Along with sales, the average price of homes is also predicted to rise, by nearly 8 percent

Most Read