The public hearing for the White Birch proposal for a six-storey rental-only building for 1485 Fir St., delayed by pandemic restrictions in November, will most likely receive a virtual public hearing in mid to late January – once statutory publication requirements are met. Contributed rendering

The public hearing for the White Birch proposal for a six-storey rental-only building for 1485 Fir St., delayed by pandemic restrictions in November, will most likely receive a virtual public hearing in mid to late January – once statutory publication requirements are met. Contributed rendering

White Rock rental building hearing due to happen in new year

Public process to resume in fully virtual format

A much-delayed proposal for a rental-only building in White Rock will finally receive a public hearing – most likely in mid to late January.

The White Birch proposal for an 80-unit, six-storey apartment building at 1485 Fir St. – originally scheduled for its hearing on Nov. 23 – is the largest project among five public hearings put on hold by council on Nov. 9.

That decision came in response to provincial pandemic health orders prohibiting gatherings until further notice. (The other delayed hearings include one for a three-lot subdivision, while the remainder are for duplex approvals.

At council’s online meeting Dec. 7, council unanimously endorsed moving forward with a fully virtual format for public hearings, allowing the meetings to be rescheduled, but acknowledging a two- to three-week delay to allow for the statutory public notices to be published and distributed in mail-outs.

The previous practice, following the declaration of the COVID-19 emergency in March, was holding a semi-virtual meeting in which in-person public participation at the White Rock Community Centre was transmitted electronically to council members.

READ ALSO: White Rock rental building public hearing put on hold

READ ALSO: White Rock council increases compensation for displaced tenants

But planning and development services director Carl Isaak told council – in both written and verbal reports recommending the fully virtual format – that staff members believe they can provide sufficient opportunity for public input, which could also include phoned-in comments and written submissions.

Isaak said the only other option would be to continue to defer public hearings – which would result in a backlog. As of Dec. 4, provincial health orders preclude a return to the semi-virtual format at White Rock Community Centre, he said.

Coun. Helen Fathers moved the recommendation.

“I’m really happy to support this,” she said. “I do think we’re heading into a new and different way of doing local government, and I think this is just a first step.”

But Coun. Christopher Trevelyan said he had concerns that searches of the city’s website don’t always bring up current and upcoming public hearings.

“How will people find out about these hearings?” he asked.

Isaak said he would request that the city’s IT department look at improving search functions on the website, after Trevelyan’s comments were echoed by Coun. David Chesney.

Isaak said, however, that the city considers the best route for meeting the statutory publication requirement is through mail-outs and newspaper advertisements – and these will include links for the public hearings and addresses for mailed-in comments.

The White Birch proposal currently before council is a scaled-down version of a project turned down last year by council following public input on density, height and neighborhood impact.

In a report to the city’s Land Use and Planning Committee in October, Isaak said the project – revised in consultation with city staff – is now in keeping with the OCP ‘Town Centre Transition’ land use designation, and has been improved in both design and neighbourhood impact.



alex.browne@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

City of White Rockdevelopmentrental market

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

Just Posted

Delta City Hall. (James Smith photo)
Harvie, Kruger to represent Delta on Metro Vancouver board

Delta reps to sit on 11 of 16 standing committees and task forces

Record-setting high jumper Emma de Boer, who lives in Cloverdale and attends Holy Cross Regional High School in Fleetwood, will train and study architecture at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) next fall. (submitted photo)
Surrey jumper on a high after recruitment by UPenn track team

High jumper Emma de Boer aims to leave Cloverdale for Philadelphia next fall

The White Birch proposal for a six-storey rental-only building at 1485 Fir St. was turned down by council on Monday night. (Contributed rendering)
White Birch developer feels ‘betrayed’ by City of White Rock council

Application for new rental building at 1485 Fir St. turned down by council

Surrey RCMP Gang Enforcement Team street check. (File photo)
Surrey RCMP gang enforcement team seizes five vehicles

This was over 13 days, as SGET continues to target gang activity in this city

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

RCMP officers wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 stand by. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
RCMP appeal for witnesses after hit-and-run leaves girl, 17, in critical condition

The Metro Vancouver teenager was found unconscious and critically injured after being hit: police

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

Most Read