Visitors examine a model of the Newport development at an open house

White Rock Muffler-site plan starts to take shape

Marketing efforts for Newport at West Beach started last weekend with the opening of a presentation centre on Marine Drive.

A commercial/residential development that has been the focus of some White Rock residents for more than two years is expected to get underway on the former site of one of the city’s waterfront landmarks this month.

Marketing efforts for Newport at West Beach – to be built on the former White Rock Muffler site – started last weekend with the opening of a presentation centre on Marine Drive.

It’s part of a summer-long preview leading up to an official grand opening tentatively scheduled for the first week in September, according to marketing team member Steve Anderson.

“We’ll be previewing by appointment, and taking advantage of the walk-in traffic during July and August,” he said.

“There are a lot of people interested in what’s coming for the site and this has been a big news story for White Rock.”

The development, which is to include 60 condo units, has not changed significantly since it was approved by city council this spring, he said.

“There have been some very minor cosmetic changes – nothing to speak of,” he said.

Saturday, city dignitaries and neighbours got a sneak peek at what’s in store, at a ribbon-cutting and meet-and-greet that showcased models, plans and a display suite.

Mayor Wayne Baldwin at Newport“It looks very good, very promising,” Mayor Wayne Baldwin said Monday. “They seem to be a good investment group, interested in doing the right thing.”

Council in March voted 4-3 in favour of giving third and final reading to a zoning bylaw amendment that accommodates the project, to be built at the corner of Oxford Street and Marine Drive, and on two lots on Buena Vista Avenue.

The decision followed a public hearing at which the developer – Richmond-based LLW Holdings Ltd. – conceded an extra two feet in height that had been sought and offered to remove two townhouses that had been planned for the site.

Height – along with view impacts, density and potential impact to traffic – was a key concern of neighbours from the get-go. The project was first proposed to stand up to 15 storeys tall.

Coun. Al Campbell, who voted against the project, said at the time that it was “troubling, to say the least.”

Residents said the process leading up to its approval “left much to be desired.”

Construction is expected to get underway by the end of July. Baldwin noted the start was postponed two weeks by the developer to accommodate this weekend’s Tour de White Rock events.

“It’s a very auspicious start,” he said.

Coun. Grant Meyer said he was pleased to learn that plans include installing the necessary power lines underground along Marine Drive, noting the move is one council has been discussing for the waterfront.

Meyer described Newport as “a good-looking building.”

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