It’s ironic whenever members of the current White Rock council are blamed for the current spate of highrise development in the city, since most of the decisions were madeby the city’s previous council.
In fact, a majority of the current council, including Mayor Darryl Walker, campaigned successfully – as members of Democracy Direct – on a promise of a moratorium on considering more highrise proposals until those planned and approved during the previous council term were completed.
The two remaining members of the 2014 to 2018 council – Coun. Helen Fathers and Coun David Chesney – have always been mindful of resident antipathy to highrises, and have voted accordingly.
An attempt to scale-down one previously-approved development – the Lady Alexandra, on lower Johnston Road – wound up in court.
Legal issues also prevent much modification of other highrise projects already approved by the previous council –including the Nautilus building, at 1454 Oxford St.
This project’s form (21 and 24-storey towers) and density (121 multi-family units) have been ‘grandfathered’ due to a 2017 phased development agreement that gave the city $3.6 million in community amenity contributions, and 0.92 acres of wooded land to help preserve the character of the Everall neighborhood.
However much of a boon this trade-off was for the city, and however beautiful the design may be, council members still found themselves in the difficult position of voting last week for a development permit for a project they all believe is too much in the wrong place.
That they’ll probably be blamed for that, too, is the greatest irony yet.