White Rock’s Vision Fair – held in May – helped launch the city’s ongoing review of its Official Community Plan.

LETTERS: City leaders won’t stick to plan

Residents criticize planned changes to White Rock's Official Community Plan, while Mayor Wayne Baldwin maintains growth is inevitable.

Editor:

Language is important, regarding attacks being made on the City of White Rock’s Official Community Plan.

It seems most attacks on OCPs occur because ‘development’ is accepted as necessarily good and we shouldn’t stand in the way of ‘development’ as understood by developers.

Further pressure to change OCPs has, at its very base, promotion of the idea that for some reason, every civil jurisdiction in Metro Vancouver should prepare for an influx of new residents. Numbers have been apportioned by someone to each jurisdiction – by whom? Who decided what White Rock’s portion should be?

Peace Arch News carried an article quoting a White Rock developer: “That leaves only a few places that could accommodate future housing growth that’s needed to sustain a city” (Tower eyed west of the town centre, Aug. 7). Such a statement begs the question: “Is our beautiful city as it is today unsustainable?”

If so, I would like to hear from our council, because I thought we were in fine financial condition. If not, I would like to see data as to just how current developments already elbowed in, and those that are clamoring for approval, will make our city ‘sustainable’.

I share the concerns expressed in a letter to the editor from Audrey Belotte (Planning a better city, Aug. 7 letters) and wish PAN had carried a photo of the large number of huge trees cut down to make someone’s development possible on Vidal Street. A photo would have been better than several thousands of words.

Merrill Muttart, White Rock

• • •

I attended the public information meeting on Aug. 11 hosted by Texor Homes Inc., which provided details about the 15-storey, 134-unit residential development proposed for the corner of North Bluff Road and Nichol Road, (Discontent grows over highrise proposal, Aug. 14).

There appeared to be a fairly large turnout despite the fact it was scheduled in the peak holiday travel time and over the dinner hour. I suspect there would have been larger number had it been held in September and hours that would allow commuters a chance to attend.

Mayor Wayne Baldwin and his council say they want input from citizens on this and numerous other applications so that they can make an informed decision on whether they should consider changes in zoning and to the OCP to allow the developments to go through.

Why, then, did only Couns. David Chesney and Helen Fathers attend to hear the opinions of their constituents? Where was the mayor and Couns. Megan Knight, Bill Lawrence, Grant Meyer and Lynne Sinclair? Could they in fact be on holidays and not able to attend in the peak of the holiday season?

I have sent invitations to the mayor and council to attend the farmers market on Sundays to talk and mingle with their citizens and hear what their thoughts are on making changes to the OCP. Except for Chesney and Fathers, I have not even had the courtesy of a reply.

Since White Rock council voted to scrap its question period, I feel the council needs to make themselves more available to hear what their residents are wanting.

How can our voices be heard? Letter and emails are usually not answered. I urge the citizens of White Rock to attend as many of the council meetings as possible. Hopefully, our presence will convince the council that they need to start listening to the constituents.

Vickie Darts, White Rock

• • •

I read with great sadness that many White Rock citizens still believe that the Official Community Plan is a guiding force that city council must follow.

The majority vote on council merely uses this OCP as a strategy of distraction, to keep your eye off the ball, off their actions, an old magician strategy.

The OCP is meant to be a legally binding document indicating the community’s shaping of development – its expectations wants, desires, restrictions and limitations.

Unfortunately for us, just look at the frequency of rezonings used to get around the OCP that the mayor and slate majority agrees to and the latitude given to destructors – a.k.a. developers – given the ultimate prize of the CD ‘comprehensive development’ zoning, which has no guidelines to limit or restrict them.

Thus, even though the OCP states that no building on Marine Drive can exceed 37 feet in height, the destructors, given the lottery “CD” zoning, build up to 51 feet. So much for respecting the residents behind them. No more ocean view, no more valued property.

The same applies to all these highrise monsters being rezoned at will, one after another. Goodbye White Rock, hello everywhere else destructors get their hands on.

The way the OCP is, and has been, abused, it is just a vague, mysterious mirage, not the legally binding document it was meant to be and its residents want.

So stop focusing on the OCP. It is not going to be followed. Instead, make council accountable for their actions and distractions. You can go to their meetings and can request five minutes to address council on any issue.

David Bradshaw, White Rock

Legally obligated to grow

It would be useful for the people of White Rock to understand the connection between the Regional Growth Strategy and the Official Community Plan (OCP).

To begin with, White Rock is a member of Metro Vancouver (MV) and, as such, is required by provincial law to operate within the restrictions of the approved Regional Growth Strategy (RGS). One aspect of the RGS is that each municipality must take its share of the forecast growth within the region.

It is forecast that there will be one million more people in MV by 2041. White Rock’s share of that is about 7,000. With our present demographic, that will require approximately 4,000 new dwelling units.

The RGS requirements were approved by a previous council in March 2011 and incorporated into the RGS when it was approved by the Metro Board in July 2011.

This is the law and we must follow it, and the numbers must be incorporated into the amended OCP.

This growth will be gradual over the next quarter century. White Rock has the lowest growth rate in the region. This is unlikely to change.

It will be up to council, with the advice of staff and input of our citizens, to determine how best to accommodate the number of housing units required within the allowable area. The final decision will have to include the consideration of many factors, including usage, density, building height, lot coverage/green space, view blockage, tree retention, transportation corridors and infrastructure requirements.

In the end, some tough choices will have to be made for the overall good of the community.

Mayor Wayne Baldwin, White Rock

 

 

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