Re: City returns attention to Bosa towers, Jan. 13.
Once again the issue of further development on the site at Thrift Avenue and Johnston Road has been brought forward.
First of all, I wish to go on record I am not against development in the White Rock area. In general, it is necessary for the health of the community and in many cases an improvement on existing conditions.
As a positive example of development, I refer you to the complex at Foster Street and 16 Avenue, four medium-height towers in scale and in keeping with the neighbourhood.
However, the Bosa development was never in that category. A sophisticated developer persuaded a White Rock city council to approve a proposal that had few advantages and a considerable number of detriments for our community overall.
In the Jan. 13 article, Mayor Wayne Baldwin is quoted as saying “I think the final result will be beautiful.” Does any aspect of the current development justify his comment? Instead, it surely proves the adage, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’
The mayor uses the dismissive term “pushback” to describe the ongoing concerns some White Rock residents continue to feel about this. He’s right about the situation – no physical construction has given us reason to change the position we took when we saw the project plans.
Coun. David Chesney says: “I’m happy they’re finally going to provide some of the amenities that were promised…. There was a lot that was promised that was never fulfilled.”
It is the responsibility of the city to ensure developments are constructed in accordance with approved plans. If the developer fails to meet its obligations, it can be forced to comply, but only if a municipality is prepared to take a decisive stand.
We don’t need more commercial space in White Rock. Almost half the commercial space at the current towers is vacant or filled with a rotating group of short-term tenants. In addition, central White Rock is filled with empty premises, spaces that have been unoccupied for lengthy amounts of time. Those vacant spaces erode our sense of community and our opportunity to support street-front, local businesses.
No deal, no arrangement is final, despite Chesney’s remark that “no matter how many times we click our heels, it’s not going to go away.”
If a council is determined enough, listens to the wishes and concerns of the majority of its citizens, and is prepared to accept the consequences, anything can change.
Anne Helps, White Rock