Re: Towers backed after 5-hour hearing, Dec. 9.
Why is White Rock council obsessed with pushing the Elegant project on Oxford Street forward?
We have been led to believe that the priority is developing our town centre. The project on Oxford does nothing to encourage developers to consider building in our town core. Quite the contrary!
Why would a developer consider buying the more expensive downtown properties when they can build their towers on less expensive land outside the core?
Instead of catering to these perimeter builders, why not focus on initiating incentives to build our ‘downtown’? I do believe our planning department sees this concept but are obviously over-ruled and bullied by the White Rock Coalition (Oxford towers go to hearing, Nov. 25).
The odour that we smell in our City by the Sea is emanating from behind the closed doors at city hall. Does our city government have the best interests of its constituents at heart, or do they have their own questionable agendas or motives?
Glen A. Friesen, White Rock
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I attended Monday’s hearing on the ‘twin towers’.
We have just three high-density developments west of the White Rock town centre, all having eight to 12 floors. Why has the city accepted such a controversial development-permit application?
Is there a link to the purchase of the White Rock water utility? Could there be a conflict of interest? Did the city contact the Comptroller of Water Rights and the ministries of environment and health for this sensitive area? Are the minimum setbacks for wells obeyed? Could it be that hundred of cars parking underground will leak oil and other substances into the environment – just beside our drinking water?
This property should be a park.
Lutz Haack, White Rock
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Open letters to the City of White Rock.
This is the wrong project in the wrong location.
My objections are based in part on my belief in the importance of ‘smart growth’ – a planning practice used throughout Metro Vancouver and North America.
‘Smart growth’ concentrates growth in compact walkable urban centres – such as our town centre as outlined in the Official Community Plan. This project clearly does not meet that practice. This 21- and 24-storey project should only be considered in the area outlined in the current OCP as the town centre.
The practice of ‘smart growth’ also advocates compact, transit-oriented, walkable, bicycle-friendly land use, including neighbourhood schools and mixed-use development with a range of housing choices.
The project does not do that, but rather it would spread the densification out of the city centre. This does not create a walkable compact neighbourhood getting people out of their cars, supporting our local business and creating vibrancy in our town centre.
‘Smart growth’ values long-range, regional considerations of sustainability over a short-term focus.
This project, in my belief, does not look at the big picture. We must grow and develop our city in a way that best meets our needs and not those of the developer. We should be able to work together to achieve a project that fits the needs of the people, the city and character of the neighbourhood.
Council should complete the review of the OCP and consultation process prior to considering such a project. Please listen to the people that this development will affect most and reject this project. Consider developments with less density and height for this neighbourhood.
Catherine V. Ferguson, White Rock
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Do you really expect anyone to believe that, as posted on the city website Dec. 3, the submissions that have been made with 91 in support and the seven opposed to the Elegant Developments should have any bearing on the decision being made as to proceed or not?
Where are the addresses for the 91 names in support? Why are so many Surrey residents listed including family members of the developer? How many are from White Rock? Very few, if any, are listed.
For the 91 names to be valid, in my opinion you need to provide addresses for these individuals.
The petition with 1,890 signatures opposing have provided addresses. We have been told that on the petition that only White Rock residents will have any influence. The same must be for all the submissions.
Vicky Strom, White Rock
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I attended the meeting on Nov. 23 at city hall regarding four highrise buildings proposed by Elegant, MPW Projects and Forge for the corner of Oxford and Thrift.
I have several concerns arising from this meeting:
• Water – Construction of these buildings surrounds and imposes on the aquifer and includes proposals for up to three levels of underground parking. Aquifers by their very nature are porous and can be contaminated. Coupled with the city’s purchase of the aquifer from Epcor for a rumored $10 million – a figure not known to the public at this time – the responsibility level for safeguarding this resource should be acute.
• Density – 21 storeys, 24 storeys, 13-plus storeys and 13 storeys on one corner, in addition to two large complexes recently developed in this same area. This represents a density comparable to very large cities, not a bedroom community like White Rock.
• Need – Several large developments have come onto the market in recent years. They have not sold out. On the fringes of White Rock, development is intense. The need for such density does not exist.
• Services – Schools are overcapacity; the hospital, according to reports, is operating at capacity.
• Traffic – Roads in White Rock are narrow with limited ability for expansion. The proposed density would compound existing traffic issues and further erode air and noise quality.
I am a longtime White Rock resident and believe this community can continue to develop in a manner that both protects our natural environment and sustains a cohesive community. Development for development’s sake is a reckless path to destroying our unique city.
Catherine Sperling Dreyer, White Rock