Re: Project foes, supporters out in force, May 2.
What is the actual benefit of the proposed Vidal Street project, if any, to current residents or taxpayers?
There is no reason to believe a change of OCP and zoning bylaws to accommodate 12 townhouse units and 97 apartments in this area would contribute to the well-being of the community and its new members.
Most likely, it would lower the quality of life – more traffic congestion, more noise and air pollution, less green and open space, loss of wildlife habitat and views.
Lowering our quality of life is sad enough, but it also increases taxes. To base growth on the ability to milk new residents for tax revenue is a sophism, since additional taxes are needed to pay for services that the new residents would require.
We are outraged to see some residents who gained political influence by strongly opposing building up in the town centre five years ago now use said influence to support urban growth beyond limits and destruction of mature trees for personal benefit.
Thomas Gessell & Genevieve Loslier, White Rock
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The public hearing for a proposed 12-storey building at upper Vidal Street demonstrated the process for approving projects, certainly in this instance, is flawed.
The cart is being put before the horse.
A 12-storey building at the intended location outside the Town Centre is a significant departure from the principles outlined in the official community plan. This project requires a maximum shift in density; low to high. Spot zoning to accommodate such a structure would establish a threatening precedent for the OCP’s Development Permit Area 3, which includes upper Vidal Street, and indeed for all White Rock.
Instead of council amending bylaws to accommodate a proposed building, the OCP should first be updated to reflect the changed social, physical and economic environment of White Rock. Subsequent development proposals consistent with the revised OCP would not be overly controversial.
For the long term, the city’s time and energy would be better spent on an OCP update, which was last done five years ago, rather than introducing bylaws and attending public hearings to accommodate specific projects.
The official community plan is not cast in stone and its content is not legally binding. However, surely there is a moral obligation for council to adhere to the OCP’s guidelines rather than consider bylaw changes to accommodate a project that may not be in the best interest of White Rock and its residents.
Peter Hemmes, White Rock