Re: Water sale signed for city, Epcor, Sept. 9.
While I applaud the city for taking back our water from Epcor, let us not forget that Mayor Wayne Baldwin was White Rock’s city manager when city hall turned down the water works purchase for $9 million in 2005, allowing Epcor to take ownership of our water instead.
Now we are buying it back 10 years later for $23 million – minus the two acres of land that Epcor is hoping to flip to Elegant Development – for a tidy added profit of $12 million.
Elegant Development now stands to make a huge profit by developing two towers on this land – in a single-family area that Baldwin promised to protect during his election campaign – once city council rezones it.
How would such a rezoning help White Rock residents? It does not. There is a glut of condos on the market and, with $45 million sitting in reserves in city accounts, White Rock needs neither the added housing nor the added tax dollars.
So who benefits?
Is it a coincidence that Elegant Development donated $12,000 (returned after the election) to the White Rock Coalition that elected Couns. Grant Meyer, Bill Lawrence, Lynne Sinclair and Megan Knight? All four voted to allow Epcor to have this windfall. They should abstain from any vote related to Elegant.
Do you expect your water bill to go down now that White Rock owns its water? Don’t bet on it. Baldwin has said he has no plans to run a waterworks, and will instead give management of the water back to Epcor once the deal is done.
So, Epcor gets $23 million from taxpayers and $12 million from developers, and Epcor still gets to manage our water. Nice.
Scott Kristjanson, White Rock