Re: Towers plan becomes hot topic, April 15.
The article by Peace Arch News reporter Tracy Holmes quite accurately described a spirited face-off between moneyed interests and White Rock residents, or more-people-means-more-taxes versus local people who know the area, its needs and unique quality.
Obviously, the developer is planning to go to great heights to preserve a stand of trees and gift it to the city – some carrot, some sticks – but will the development enhance the quality of life through more density and therefore more traffic?
On the ‘rezoning’ side, the main points were generally: 1) that the city needs upgrading; and 2) that change is inevitable.
On the ‘stick-to-the-OCP’ side: 1) the Peace Arch Hospital needs to be expanded now and more people means further expansion; and, 2) increased traffic on Oxford was of great concern
Is there any middle ground?
It is suggested that the land could be put to better use as a ‘halfway’ facility between a hospital and a care home, specifically to relieve the stress on Peace Arch Hospital, or as an extension to Evergreen Baptist Care Home or a similar operation.
This would necessitate the city approaching the federal/provincial governments for adequate funding to buy the whole block and build an eight-storey – somewhat below tree height – amenity.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
So, how could we all win?
• The owner of the property would get his money back, plus an incentive to sell.
• The developer could shift gears by designing/building the structure with full payment upon the issue of the occupancy permit.
• Peace Arch Hospital should be able to avoid overcrowding its passageways and get back to normal for a few more years.
• Patients and seniors could enjoy bed/sitting rooms with a view.
• There should be little increase in the traffic along Oxford Street.
• Residents to the west would continue to see the present skyline.
It is high time the dog wags the tail.
Lex Henry, White Rock