Mayor Wayne Baldwin – shown at last year’s state-of-the-city address – says White Rock must

Mayor Wayne Baldwin – shown at last year’s state-of-the-city address – says White Rock must

LETTERS: Obligation under fire


Re: Legally obligated to grow, Aug. 28 letters.


Re: Legally obligated to grow, Aug. 28 letters.

According to White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin, the city is legally obligated to grow, as our share of the projected growth in the Lower Mainland, by 7,000 new residents over the next 25 years.

That might not sound like much. But with its current population of 19,399, that means a growth of 36 per cent. White Rock is very limited in size – about 5.1 square kilometers.

The mayor indicates this means about 4,000 new dwelling units.

In other words, we would need about 30 additional highrise towers like the 134-unit, 15-storey one proposed for North Bluff Road and Nichol Road. Or, if we use the twin towers of 21 and 24 storeys proposed for the former Epcor water utility site, we would need 66 such towers to create the additional dwelling units to meet our legal obligation.

Another development proposal in the same area (Thrift and Oxford) is for a 12-storey, 17-unit tower. Using this model we would need 235 additional towers to create the legally required dwelling units.

There are a few more examples you can find on the city website by Googling ‘Active Development Applications White Rock’. Depending on the number of storeys and the size of each unit, we will need to approve between 30 and 235 additional highrise towers to meet our legal requirement to absorb 7,000 new residents by 2041.

Where do you want these towers?

In the mayor’s inaugural speech last December, he stated: “White Rock’s growth is very small and manageable – about 120 to 150 people or three-quarters per cent per year – and we want to keep it that way.”

That equates to 3,000 to 3,750 additional residents of White Rock over the next 25 years. Only 15 to 117 highrises. But that’s only half of the number we need to meet our ‘legal obligation’. So when do the other 4,000 residents arrive, and where will we put their highrises?

Roger Elmes, White Rock

• • •

In Friday’s PAN, Mayor Wayne Baldwin stated White Rock is legally obligated to grow because the city has signed on to Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy (RGS).

If the RGS must be so rigidly adhered to, why then is White Rock’s Official Community Plan (OCP) – also a legal document – so flagrantly violated time after time? They are not mutually exclusive.

In fact, I direct the mayor to Division 1, Part 849(2) of the RGS, which states: “…to the extent that a regional growth strategy deals with these matters, it should work towards but not be limited to the following: (a) avoiding urban sprawl and ensuring that development takes place where adequate facilities exist or can be provided in a timely, economic and efficient manner.”

Cressey’s Vidal Street development falls outside that definition, as does Texor’s planned incursion at Nichol and North Bluff.

Stop making excuses and start listening to residents – no more highrises outside the downtown core, as stated in the OCP.

Anthony Manning, White Rock

• • •

Is this the way our mayor is to communicate with the citizens, through a letter to the editor of the PAN on the subject of the OCP?

I feel this is an insult to the intelligence of the good people of White Rock, who have endured what boils down to bullying practices of the coalition through constant and unwavering amendment changes of the OCP to satisfy the needs of developers’ profit margins.

The letter seems to me to be a veiled threat to the citizens to put up and shut up with the idea that concrete brutalism is here to stay.

Baldwin mentions Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy but fails to mention the fact that most of the large developers flouting their megalithic ideology have contributed handsomely to his and the coalition’s campaign funds.

I feel our small sleepy hamlet by the sea is falling prey to a style of concrete brutalism which will destroy the lifestyle enjoyed by all residents of White Rock.

Fiona MacDermid, White Rock

• • •

I call BS on Mayor Wayne Baldwin.

I attended the Imagine White Rock Vision Fair on May 24 where input from citizens was received regarding what they would like to see in the next Official Community Plan.

Every municipality is required to have one, but, as we are constantly told by those at city hall, it’s not law, it’s just a ‘guideline’. Now, our mayor is telling us that our city is required by law to take on 7,000 more people.

I challenge him to back up his statement and tell us which law.

I posed this question to a planner with the city. He pointed me to the Local Government Act, as well as to Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy. The Local Government Act states: “A board may adopt a regional growth strategy for the purpose of guiding decisions on growth, change and development….”

How do ‘guidelines’ translate into White Rock being legally required to take in 7,000 more people?

As for the Regional Growth Strategy, once again, the numbers are noted to be ‘guidelines’ only.

So, let’s say we don’t meet these ‘guidelines’. What’s the punishment?

Turns out, the courts have decided. In Metro Vancouver vs. Langley, it was determined the RGS contains “guidelines expressing policy”, not enforceable laws; to quote a friend, “the RGS is as binding as bran buds.”

Mr. Mayor, do your homework! And listen to the 83 per cent of White Rock citizens who oppose changing the OCP to allow for these highrises you are forcing down our throats in support of a bogus ‘law’.

Erika Johanson, White Rock

• • •

Regarding the letter from Mayor Wayne Baldwin, I can only say that no matter how many times the mayor repeats this, it is false.

The majority of citizens have made it clear they do not wish to be overrun by more density. It is the mayor’s job, as their employee, to ensure those wishes prevail.

C. Fast, White Rock

• • •

I was one of the many White Rock citizens who fought long and hard years ago when council first tried to change our OCP to allow developers to build their towers.

And although we won the fight, we did not win the war, because the Bosa towers were still built with the consensus that more towers would be in the town centre.

Now, once again, this issue has reared its ugly head as council seems hellbent on trying to change our OCP. So my question now to council is, why are you trying to build outside the town centre? Are you purposely trying to change the face of White Rock forever?

The location of the towers slated to be built are also totally out of character for the neighbourhoods, especially on Oxford and Thrift. What are you people thinking? The lovely Royce, which complements the neighbourhood was just completed there. The buyers bought into the Royce knowing our OCP, and now they may be susceptible to months of noise and construction if the towers are built? I would be furious if I was a new owner.

The Royce has approximately 189 units, so I think it more than contributes to our share of the Regional Growth Strategy, which Baldwin indicates we are now obligated to do. It has also shown us it is possible to incorporate growth without the constant need for towers to invade our neighbourhoods.

As a citizen, I am totally appalled they would even consider changing our OCP for a few money-hungry developers. We do not want to live in a concrete jungle and be under the constant scrutiny of construction.

Cheryl Berti, White Rock

• • •

In response to several comments made by our Machiavellian leadership in White Rock, we are not legally bound to increase density.

That is a totally misleading statement and has no basis in fact.

There is no law that forces any municipality to increase density or build highrises in their city. This is complete and utter fabrication. It’s just plain nonsense. This is the typical misleading statement put out by our inglorious leadership.

The OCP is another matter, and instead of honouring, respecting and following the OCP they have consistently trounced, degraded and disregarded the OCP with the instrument of CD spot zoning, which is as Machiavellian as it gets.

Garry Wolgemuth, White Rock

• • •

As members of council, we are advised by the city lawyer to only write to the letters-to-the-editor page under extreme circumstances or to correct information.

The Regional Growth Strategy clearly states: “The projections are to assist in long range planning and are guidelines only.”

There are no measures nor policing techniques to enforce compliance with a document that is meant as a tool to help Metro Vancouver member municipalities plan cities. It should be used as intended to help support housing polices, transportation issues and environmental concerns.

As with all bylaws and policies, they are up for interpretation. Mayor Wayne Baldwin’s interpretation, in my opinion, supports his penchant for densification of our city and his inability to listen to our residents who are clearly saying “No No. No!”

Coun. Helen Fathers, White Rock



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

South Surrey and White Rock Chamber of Commerce. (Contributed photo)
South Surrey and White Rock Chamber of Commerce to host virtual COVID-19 town hall

Online event to include local politicians and representatives from Fraser Health, WorkSafe BC

At least one person received life-threatening injuries when a car collided with a semi truck in South Surrey on Friday morning. (Brenda Anderson photo)
VIDEO: South Surrey crash sends one to hospital in critical condition

Road closures in effect after collison between car and semi-truck

Ben “Santa” Cohen visits Ecole Martha Currie in Cloverdale Dec. 4. Santa wished everyone a socially-distanced Merry Christmas out in front of the school. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Santa visits Ecole Martha Currie in Cloverdale

First gig of the season for Ben ‘Santa’ Cohen; COVID driving most gigs online

Shawn Canil, a Cloverdale-area resident, turns heads with the truck he’s decorated for Christmas. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Truck’s Christmas decorations lift spirits on Cloverdale man’s commute

‘When I see them smiling, I know it’s worth it,’ pickup driver Shawn Canil says

Gurbaz Singh, deli manager at the Cloverdale Country Market, arranges some gifts in the back of a vintage car. The car is part of the Cloverdale Country Market’s “December to Remember” picture taking area. The market is encouraging people to come down, snap some Christmas pics and share them on social media. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
PHOTOS: Cloverdale Country Market creates Christmas picture space

Market cancels annual Christmas Craft Fair, replaces it with Christmas picture zone

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
B.C. hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced a Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

Chilliwack General Hospital. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress file)
Chilliwack mother upset about son’s alleged suicide attempt after hospital discharge

Rhonda Clough said 34-year-old son suffering with bipolar disorder should have been kept in hospital

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Vancouver Island for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

Most Read