A cap on building heights in the town center - which owners in the Bayview buildlng at George Street and Russell Avenue are protesting - does not mean that the door is closed on all such development in future, Coun. Scott Kristjanson says. (File photo)

A cap on building heights in the town center - which owners in the Bayview buildlng at George Street and Russell Avenue are protesting - does not mean that the door is closed on all such development in future, Coun. Scott Kristjanson says. (File photo)

White Rock height cap ‘totally devalues’ building, residents claim

Coun. Scott Kristjanson says council’s action reflects will of the majority

White Rock town centre resident Barbara Ohl says a cap placed on heights in the area by council last week “totally devalues” the building in which she lives.

On April 26, council voted to give third reading to a revision of the town centre CR-1 zoning, after unanimously endorsing an amendment that would limit building heights in the area to eight to 10 storeys, generally, with an absolute maximum of 40 metres – the equivalent of 12 storeys.

Final adoption of the revision bylaw – as amended – is scheduled for council’s May 10 meeting.

Ohl said she speaks for some 37 other residents in her building – The Bayview, at 1521 George St.– who have signed a letter protesting the revision of the zoning bylaw.

She also spoke at the public hearing on the revision on April 19, expressing her neighbours’ views that the current zoning, which allows a 25- to 26-storey height, should remain just as it is.

“We live in a 44-year-old, six-storey concrete building, and when they (council) bring the zoning down to 10 storeys, they’re basically saying you don’t have any value in your property,” she told Peace Arch News.

“No developer is going to take down a six-storey building to put up a 10-storey building,” she said.

READ ALSO: Building heights a sticking point in White Rock town centre revisions

READ ALSO: Town centre zoning in White Rock could cap buildings at 12 storeys

But Coun. Scott Kristjanson, who made the motion amending the revision (seconded by Coun. Erika Johanson), said that he feels redevelopment within the 12-storey limit it establishes is still economically viable for developers.

“I look at Surrey, on the other side of North Bluff, and there’s a lot of three-storey development there, just as there is in Burnaby and other municipalities. Those guys all made money. I think there’s a lot of spin that gets put on things.”

Furthermore, he said, the revision is only a zoning change – not an irrevocable decision.

“We can’t fetter ourselves or the next council,” he said.

“As I said at the time I made the motion, if someone came along in future and had a good case for a 35-storey building, we’d listen to it. I wouldn’t vote for it, personally, but the case could still be made.”

Among Ohl’s complaints are that, only two years ago, she and other strata owners in Bayview were offered some $17 million by a developer who wanted to rebuild on the site.

Ohl said that, with the latest zoning revision, she expects the market value of the property – which includes 30 residential units and six ground-floor commercial units – will plummet. While she has only lived in the building four years, she said, others have lived there 25 years or more.

But Kristjanson said this is the chance that every property owner takes in making an investment.

“It’s a long-term thing.

“If you wait long enough, a different council may have a different attitude.”

For her part, Ohl said she understands that the reduction in height limits is a result of campaign promises.

“Council is living up to the promise of bringing down heights that elected them, but they’re picking on our building,” she said. “I suppose they figure we’re just a bunch of old people.”

Kristjanson said however there is no intention to target any specific group of property owners, merely to reflect what the majority of people have told council they want over some two years of consultation and discussion.

“We’re just echoing what people have said,” he added. “People told us they didn’t want higher buildings. If we’d heard all that and had done nothing that would have been wrong.

“People who aren’t happy with the way a vote went always tend to say you have a bias. We represent the people and (Ohl) is one of the people. It doesn’t mean we didn’t listen, just that (her side) didn’t come up with the strongest case.”

Ohl also said she also sees no reason why the revision to the bylaw would limit the height at the Bayview site to 10 storeys, while allowing much higher buildings in the town centre.

But Kristjanson noted that the amendment to the revision bylaw, which would have originally allowed an 18- storey, a 23-storey and a 29-storey building as a trade-off for generally lower heights, will effectively take those proposals off the table for now.

“None of those has been given building permits, which would have meant they would have to have gone ahead.”

Ultimately, Kristjanson said, if the will of the people is to have higher building heights, then that will be reflected in the ballot box.

“They can choose not to re-elect this council, and elect some other council that believes in higher buildings,” he said.

“What I want to emphasize most of all is that voting matters – and we listened to the people who voted for us.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

City of White Rockdevelopment

Just Posted

A mixed-use development with 69 market rental units and 10 commercial units is proposed for the 2300-block of King George Boulevard. (Thinkspace rendering)
Pair of South Surrey apartment proposals move forward

Council gives third reading to rezoning applications for market-rental and residential projects

Launched in January, Uplift Canada was founded by Tsawwassen resident Maggie Larocque. (submitted photo)
Surrey shelters get clothing collected June 26 by Uplift Canada

Book a pickup on website of the new non-profit, founded by Delta resident

Converter thefts have increased dramatically as the price of platinum has skyrocketed. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press photo)
Catalytic converter thefts continue to plague Delta

Police say the thefts are on the rise across the city, with seven incidents on Thursday, June 17

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

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

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read