Just like its town centre, White Rock’s waterfront needs a vision to guide its future.
But while staff recommended delaying the process until 2012 – for budget reasons – Mayor Catherine Ferguson encouraged a quicker pace.
“It’s extremely important we move on this. This is our greatest asset,” Ferguson said at the July 18 council meeting. “I don’t think we can wait any longer.”
Council gave unanimous support to a motion by Coun. Lynne Sinclair to have staff draft terms of reference for the process for the city’s land use and planning committee. A friendly amendment by Ferguson to have those terms ready for September was also supported.
In discussing the matter, Paul Stanton, the city’s director of planning and development services, told council the visioning process – to be much like that underway for the city’s town centre – would cost $40,000 to $65,000, depending on expectations, the extent of public involvement and the level of detail requested.
“The waterfront does have some unique issues that will need to be addressed,” he noted.
With the upcoming municipal election and no budget, however, it would be “a more appropriate 2012 process,” he said.
In discussing the areas recommended for inclusion in the process, and what the vision should reflect, councillors questioned everything from the impact to the plan if the railway was moved, to why multi-family residences had been included.
Regarding the latter, Stanton said the lots are subject to the development permit process and are “part-and-parcel of what needs to be considered in terms of where we go in the future.”
Regarding the railway, Stanton said the impact would depend on disposition of the land.
“That would warrant further review should that ever happen,” he said.
Sinclair expressed support for waiting until 2012 to get the ball rolling, noting it would make sense to include results of a retail needs assessment. Those results are expected this month.
In a report, Stanton notes a vision for the waterfront area “would be proactive and help provide direction for proponents and residents alike prior to further redevelopment proposals.”
“The end product would assist the city by providing direction for land use, densities, building heights, and building form, function and character.”