Victoria Avenue homeowners who live behind an under-construction development say they are frustrated by apparent inaction of city officials to their concerns regarding work at the site.
David Bradshaw and Aroon Shah say inconsistencies in information and a lack of communication further speaks to a pattern they’ve seen in White Rock, in which homeowners’ rights come second to those of developers.
“We don’t sense any balance there,” said Bradshaw.
City manager Dan Bottrill said Friday that he is aware of issues being raised regarding the Marine Drive project. But he disagreed the two groups are treated differently at city hall.
“That’s certainly not the intent,” he said, noting “it’s in the city’s best interest” to treat both as equally as possible.
Bradshaw said issues with Tatla Development’s Waves on Marine project, underway on three lots in the 15500-block of Marine Drive, include height, construction noise outside of the city’s permitted hours and encroachment.
He said the height is a key concern – particularly since city officials have acknowledged that steel roof beams were erected higher than what was approved.
Bradshaw said he and a neighbour met with a city inspector shortly after the beams were raised last month.
“They looked too high to me,” Bradshaw said a week later, as he observed work taking place just a few metres from his bedroom window.
He said he was later advised – after pressing the mayor and chief building official for answers – that the beams were to be adjusted this week for a height reduction of nine inches.
But in addition to receiving two different versions of who noticed the error, Bradshaw said city officials have yet to explain how the project’s maximum allowed height jumped by more than two feet in city documents – to the 53.48 feet approved by council1 in October 2012 from the 51.25-foot maximum that residents spoke to at a public hearing the month before.
“Just a few weeks later, the mayor signs off on 53.48 feet,” Bradshaw said. “How does that happen? We haven’t received an answer yet.
“There’s a whole series of exceptional allowances for this project and we can’t get any reasonable explanation.”
Asked Friday about the discrepancy in the figures, Bottrill was surprised to learn there was a difference. Noting the higher figure is also described as “geodetic,” Bottrill was unable to clarify by Peace Arch News’ press deadline Monday why the documents have different specifics. He said he also was “a bit surprised” Bradshaw’s repeated requests for the clarification had gone unanswered.
Developer Kuldeep Tatla told PAN Friday that he was not aware of the roof-beam concern, but said that all of the work on the four-storey structure is proceeding as approved. Tatla said any discrepancies – which he said is the norm with most projects – would be dealt with by the time it is completed.
“Everything is in process,” Tatla said. “When the building’s finished, it’ll be finished correctly, according to plan. When (Bradshaw) is standing on his deck, he’ll still be able to see clearly over the building.”
Described the complaints as “really the issue of a disgruntled homeowner,” Tatla said Bradshaw is the only neighbour to express concern with the project, although he acknowledged that owners of the Sandpiper Pub – one of whom is White Rock Coun. Bill Lawrence – did initiate legal action earlier this year over encroachment. Tatla said it was felt the “super-tight” property line between the two sites had been over-stepped.
Lawrence told PAN the claim was regarding unauthorized work.
“They had done a couple of things that were not authorized by (Sandpiper owners) and we took them to task on it,” Lawrence said, noting an “agreeable settlement” was reached out of court in March, and “we’ve had no issues with them since.”