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White Rock looks at phasing in towers

Council members flag construction parking as a growing issue in the uptown area
Landmark Premiere Properties's 'Foster Martin on White Rock Commons' development for the uptown area (in rendering above) would begin with the tower shown at left.

White Rock council has given first and second readings to a 10-year phased development agreement for Landmark Premiere Properties's 'Foster Martin on White Rock Commons' development.

But in giving an initial endorsement at its meeting this week, council also served notice that a plan for providing parking for construction workers needs to be be ironed out while the phased development agreement moves forward to a public hearing and granting of a development permit.

When complete, the planned mixed-use development – for a long-vacant property between Foster and Martin streets in the 1400-block of the uptown area – would consist of three towers providing 334 residential units and 56,304 square feet of commercial space.

First phase will be construction of a 24-storey tower in the northwest corner of the property, a block from the intersection of Martin and North Bluff.

Acting development services director Greg St. Louis confirmed to council Monday that the owners of Landmark also own the parking lot across Foster Street (behind Central Plaza) and he said he understood they planned to have workers on the project park there.

"Get that in writing," Mayor Wayne Baldwin said, adding "council would like that sooner than later."

Parking for construction workers – seen as a developing problem in the city as the uptown area enters a spate of highrise construction – was much on the mind of council members during the meeting, following a delegation to council by White Rock senior Graham McCracken.

He said that workers – believed to be from the nearby Cressy construction site – who park vehicles in front of his condo building in the 1400-block of Blackwood Street have created a significant inconvenience for residents and visitors, and urged council to prohibit construction-related parking on the street.

While council referred the matter to staff for further investigation, McCracken's pleas did not fall on deaf ears.

Coun. Lynne Sinclair said she understood that Cressy developers had made some attempt to work out a parking plan, but that the city had not made it a condition when approving the development.

"It's a broader problem," Sinclair said, asking that staff work out a definitive parking policy for construction projects. "If we don't do that we're going to hear from a lot more people than Mr. McCracken."

Coun. Helen Fathers agreed that parking issues in the uptown area will increase with the onset of numerous construction projects.

"I don't think it's just about development," she said, noting that hospital workers are also parking on residential streets.

In response to a question from Fathers on what temporary measures could be taken, city administrator Dan Bottrill said "this is something staff has been discussing."

"Parking in the City of White Rock is going to be a bit of a challenge," he said. "We're going to have to take a hard look to see how we can mitigate this."

Sinclair returned to the theme during discussion of the Landmark agreement later in the meeting, asking planning manager Carl Isaak whether there was a specific plan to ensure that workers on the project would not be parking on nearby streets.

Isaak said that this would likely be part of a construction management plan worked out once the development permit application is submitted.

"The problem is that, at that point, we've issued a development permit," Sinclair said.

"We've been told before (in other developments) that there was going to be a parking plan."

Sinclair noted that when film crews come to White Rock – and in other areas including the downtown Vancouver core – many workers are bused in to the site.

"Any builder should be able to do that," she said.


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