“They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”
Joni Mitchell was certainly doing some prescient soothsaying back in the 1960s when she wrote that song. She must have been thinking of the future of White Rock.
I have visited the town pretty well every year since my mother moved here back in 1988, and I have watched as the city has gone seemingly out of its way to urbanize and destroy what had been a charming little town.
The first big hit came about 10 years ago when, despite protests from many in the town – including my mother – the city went ahead and gave approval to build several 20+ storey condo highrises near Thrift and Johnston Road.
Now I see in my visit this summer that a three-acre plot of land on Foster Street will be turned into three 25-storey condo buildings.
I don’t know if the approval has already gone through for this but, based on what happened before, I can only assume that local politicians and developers who have a stake in this project pretty well guarantee that it’s already a done deal.
How will these new buildings be a bonus for White Rock? Will it improve the quality of living here for its current residents? Certainly there will be more tax revenue to waste – like the tens of thousands of dollars spent on those ridiculous-looking, multi-colored bears I see around town, which stand like sentinels of extravagance and poor taste.
But I can guarantee you there will be no tax rebate from this project for those already here.
Instead, what you’ll end up with is the daily opportunity to stare at a few more eyesore obelisks that belong in a city, not a seaside town like White Rock. And with them will come thousands more people with their cars, traffic and demands on local water supply, etc. to chip away even more at the pleasures of living in this town.
Pierre Home-Douglas, Dorval, Que