Vidal Street project variances approved

Developers of 12-storey project given green-light by White Rock council for additional height.

Residents chat with developers of a Vidal Street project at a March public information meeting.

Revised plans for a much-contended highrise development on Vidal Street were approved by White Rock council this week, following a public meeting that heard from speakers in support and against the proposed changes.

The project, at 1501 Vidal St., was originally given the green-light by council in November 2013.

Developers later submitted an application for an amended development permit with a variance to increase the building’s overall height from 39.38 metres to 43.54 metres to allow for elevator access to a rooftop amenity space, as well as a reduction in the number of units from 95 to 89.

Council voted to approve the developer’s application at Monday’s meeting, with Coun. David Chesney opposed and Mayor Wayne Baldwin and Coun. Helen Fathers absent.

At a public meeting prior to the vote, council heard from a dozen speakers both in favour and against the development amendments.

Those in support of the changes – many of whom were Surrey residents who had already purchased units in the building – said the development offered amenities they couldn’t find elsewhere in White Rock.

Speaking in favour of the amendments, Marilyn Smith, a South Surrey resident, called the development a “wonderful asset for White Rock,” noting a number of new developments throughout Metro Vancouver have rooftop deck amenities.

“I think it’s great for community relations,” Smith said.

“I also think it’s great that people can get together and be more sociable in their community as well.”

Residents opposed said allowing a height increase after the fact would set a bad precedent in the city.

Hazel Stack, who lives on Vidal Street a few blocks from where the development will be built, said she doesn’t approve of the developer coming back to council to ask for more height, after its original proposal was already approved.

“I’m for the project now that it was forced on us,” Stack said. “What I’m against tonight, is an amendment to what was forced on us, with an extra addition on an amenity. Cressey is a great company, is what we’ve heard, they should have known what an amenity of this magnitude should have entailed.”

Sales of units within the development are already underway. According to a representative from Cressey, construction is expected to start in late August, and will likely take close to two years to complete.

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