LETTERS: City of White Rock stance on highrises is regression, not progression


Re: White Rock municipal election landscape different for 2022, Aug. 18

I read the article in the PAN with some foreboding.

Is the White Rock’s Mayor’s new “evolved” thinking more like “devolved” regressed thinking, as in “is he now in favour of more highrises rather than less?

Council paid $168,000 to a planning consultant who came back with a report saying that the White Rock Coalition’s version of the OCP was more appropriate than the $200,000, 2021 OCP Democracy Direct version, where heights were capped at 12 storeys within the current town centre where high-rises were corralled.

The report promoted highrises of, first, 18-25 storeys from Oxford Street to Best Street and from North Bluff Road to Thrift Avenue. It was then quickly revised to 14-18 storeys, with the higher limit in the town centre, after some vigorous public push-back.

The rub also was that he promoted cancelling the majority of single-family zones in the City to allow for unlimited mid-rises of 4-6 storeys.

What happened? The mayor and the two current councillors he has tapped on the shoulder as unofficial running mates for the 2022 municipal election never objected once during several housing committee meetings in order to interject with the philosophy that got them elected in 2018?

It was only after some serious outcry from what may well be now “former supporters” that pillar 11 (5B) – which contained the egregious leaps to unprecedented future density – was shelved at the open council meeting, presumably until after the election.

This was after a councillor made the surprise motion to fully reject the report in its entirety.

It seems more like the real split is that three out of five Democracy Direct councillors are now supporting more highrise and mid-rise density in a mad rush to raise our status a few notches up from the ninth densest municipality in Canada.

The other two ex-DDWR councillors, who steadfastly cling to most of their 2018 campaign promises regarding density, have become a a ball-and-chain around the neck for the newly converted (evolved) mayor and his two cohorts.

They have been offered the proverbial door so that they can “move on.”

Is it more like “regression” rather than “progression.”

In October 2018 the headline was “Democracy Direct wins council majority: ‘We must give the City back to the people of White Rock.’”

Perhaps the Oct. 15 2022 headline be “Loose-knit group of ultra pro-development candidates win council majority: ‘We must give the City back to the highrise developers.’”

Fiona MacDermid, White Rock

Letter to the Editor

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