Sinclair questions OCP survey method

White Rock councillors raise concerns about non-White Rock respondents participating in questionnaire.

The City of White Rock held a Vision Fair last month to gather feedback for it's Official Community Plan update.

Questions continue to swirl over White Rock’s Official Community Plan survey, after a progress report was brought to city council Monday.

The survey, which closed on Wednesday, is meant to gather input from residents on a variety of topics as part of the city’s OCP updating process.

In recent weeks, it has been the subject of scrutiny by some residents – and now two councillors – after more light was shed on the survey-completion process.

Couns. Helen Fathers and Lynne Sinclair brought up concerns about the anonymity of the survey, and that non-White Rock residents could complete it .

“The survey doesn’t say ‘do you live in White Rock’ or ‘do you live elsewhere?’” Fathers said. “I think it’s important for people in White Rock to have the largest voice.”

Karen Cooper, director of development and planning, echoed what a city spokesperson told Peace Arch News last week, pointing to methods in place for the online survey that would distinguish White Rock residents from non-residents.

“The way you go through online, you have to indicate an address, and you won’t be allowed to go to the next step unless you indicate an address in White Rock,” Cooper told council.

(This week, PAN went through the pre-registration steps online using a Surrey address and was able to respond to all questions.)

Cooper did acknowledge Monday that the hard-copy surveys – dropped off at city hall – did not have any address-verification methods in place, aside from questions asking what neighbourhood respondents live in and how long they had been White Rock residents. However, Cooper said that having seen all of the close to 250 responses received by that point, she doesn’t believe results have been skewed.

Sinclair said she was “very concerned” after learning the print surveys did not include names and addresses of residents.

“Had I seen that survey in print without the name and address – and I don’t think I’m alone here – I think every one of us would have said ‘you have to put your name and address on it,’” she said.

Concerns were first raised when emails from a developer – proposing two highrises on Oxford Street – urged “White Rock/South Surrey residents and also any friends/family who can help” to fill out the survey.

The company, Elegant Development, later sent out an email clarifying that the survey was only intended for White Rock residents and business owners, and told PAN the first email was sent “with the best intentions.”

On Monday, Cooper sought council’s endorsement for establishing an ‘Official Community Plan Working Group,’ comprising various stakeholders.

The working group’s objectives would include “promoting transparency and public participation and representing the opinions and needs of people and groups.”

Members are to be selected by Cooper and staff, a detail that prompted questions from council.

“Is there a reason why council won’t have a say in these appointments?” Coun. Megan Knight asked.

Cooper explained she felt strongly that in the early stages the city shouldn’t have “political representation” on the group.

“It’s really important that it not be viewed or considered a political process,” Cooper said.

Council voted unanimously to endorse creation of the working group. The city aims to have a updated OCP by the fall of 2016.

Just Posted

New West mayor says Surrey won’t be left out in transit 10-year plan

Jonathan Cote one of two speakers at luncheon focusing on transportation, land use planning

UPDATE: Missing Surrey snowshoer found dead on Mt. Seymour

North Shore Rescue resumed its search today after efforts were temporarily halted Tuesday due to snowstorm

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside North Delta elementary school

The officer was intervening in an alleged assault outside of Immaculate Conception School when he and the woman were stabbed

Suspect charged after four Surrey banks were robbed in just four hours

Financial institutions in North Surrey targeted on Feb. 12

Surrey says WorkSafeBC should be in charge of asbestos abatement

City staff say WorkSafeBC has ‘greater knowledge, experience and expertise’ concerning asbestos

VIDEO: Nail-biter game against Germany tonight earns Langley’s Team Canada a win

Langley’s Team Tardi is 5-2 at the junior curling worlds in Nova Scotia, hoping to defend their title

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died: B.C. police watchdog

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Experts urge caution after 10 human-triggered avalanches across B.C.

One man is still stuck after avalanche on south coast

Most Read

l -->