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May 08, 2024

In My Opinion

At the last regular meeting of council (April 29) staff brought forward for a "first look" at two projects that are well above the allowable height in the current Official Community Plan OCP.

One of the applications for an OCP amendment was for a 26 storey tower to be locate on the NE corner of George Street and North Bluff road. The current Official Community Plan designates that are of the city to have nothing more than 6 storey buildings.

The other application which seems to have inflamed the community is a proposed 31 storey tower (which would make it the highest building in the city). In the past couple of weeks I have had numerous residents buttonhole me and ask me "What the heck is going on @ City Hall?"

The last council 2018-2022 Democracy Direct were elected with a majority of council seats (5-2). Democracy Direct capitalized on the community's anger at the number of the high-rises approved by the previous council (2014-2018) the Coalition led by former mayor Wayne Baldwin with two of the current sitting council members on his slat. Mayor Knight and Bill Lawrence were shown the door when Democracy Direct gained control of city hall.

Through all this mess the late councillor HELEN FATHERS and I sat back with only two votes marveling at the twists and turns of both councils.

I am not sure if the current council is going to push hard for more density in White Rock. With the exception of myself and Councillor TREVELYAN if we can come to any conclusion from the April meeting, this council is planning on adding more density to our city by the sea.

My basic objection is twofold.

1. We are waiting for the emissary of representatives from The Province to arrive to sit down with our Planning Department and map out how they believe we should pack in more people into the 9th densest city in all of Canada.

2. The sitting council a number of months back approved a $90,000.00 expenditure for a NORTH BLUFF CORRIDOR study. The George street project is smack in the middle of said study.

Why the rush?

Is there fear the Province's guidelines and or North Bluff corridor study will not reflect the vision the the 4 councillors and the mayor who approved both OCP amendments?

(click here to hear the election promise)

From the feedback from the community it appears most of the anger is centres on MAYOR KNIGHT. Someone took to social media and posted up an audio video clip of MAYOR KNIGHT stating at the all mayoral debate, if elected she would stick to the Official Community Plan.

The community has a lot of questions. Will the heat die down. Will people get over it and just accept more high-rises as their fate?

I do know one thing, the vast majority of the people that vote annually in White Rock do not support high-rises.

David Chesney

Editor/Publisher / City Councillor

The above comments are solely MY OPINION


In My Opinion

David Chesney


Yesterday (March 20) I had the pleasure of joining host IAN SCOTT of Surrey talk radio in an hour's dialogue on a wide variety of topics. One of the questions IVAN posed to me was the pros and cons of being a city councillor in White Rock. The pros rolled off my lips. The true highlight is the positive feedback from members of the community.

A supportive email, telephone call or a personal encounter in the community puts the wind back in my sails.

The cons are few, with the exception of one personal occurrence. Keyboard warriors. For those not aware of the term, it refers to individuals that take to social media to offer up their personal opinions on how city council is doing. I will openly admit normally when someone says to me "Did you see what so and so said about you on such and such FACEBOOK? I simply reply no I did not see it, and if sos and so has anything to say to me they know how to get a hold of me.

The city has provided an easy to find link on its website where the emails and city cellular phone numbers of all members of council are archived.

(Click here to be directed to said link)

In my 9 years as an elected official I have only had one individual actually stop me on the street and take me to task on something I have said or done pertaining to my p[position as a city councillor. Read that again. ONE INDIVIDUAL!

I openly encourage dialogue with the community. In my first term as a city councillor I hosted monthly COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS on the first Saturday of the month at the White Rock library. I have plans to revive the opportunity to dialogue with members in our community in a slightly different format. Think POP UP Community Conversations. Stay tuned.

I digress. The other day a community member asked me what I thought of the Mayor's planned 25 storey tower to be located at the corner of Russell avenue and Johnston Road. The piece of property next to the White Rock Playhouse which the city bought 6 or 7 years ago. I was on that WAYNE BALDWIN led council (as were two other members of the current council). The property the one time location of Rebel gas station was owned by Imperial Oil and we were offered the opportunity to purchase the land. The pitch to the council of the day was to turn it into a a green space/park to offset the runaway tsunami of highrise approvals. The details of that deal will be the topic for another day.

When I told the individual I wasn;'t sure what he was referring to he forwarded me the link on FACEBOOK by a resident by the name of FIONA MCDERMID. I read with interest the comments, some listed below. The racist and totally without merit have been omitted. I have respect for FIONA MCDERMID, she has been engaged in our community for a number of years, volounteering for community events as well as actually turning her collar up to the winds of indifference and ran for city council.

As for the res of the "keyboard warriors" zero respect. As I scrolled through the names I did not recognize but just a couple of the critics. I have never heard from their regarding their displeasure with what is happening at city halls

For years elected council members made sure QUESTION PERIOD was buried at the very end of the council meetings. Meaning if a member of the community had a question, they were forced to sit through en entire council meeting to have their say. To the credit of the last council QUESTION PERIOD became QUESTION AND ANSER PERIOD and was moved to the front of the council meeting. Any member of the community wishing to address their elected officials =simply had to turn up 5 minutes before the council meeting, sign the sign up list and voila. The floor was theirs for two minutes. When the current council was elected there was a movement to move QUESTION AND ANSWER PERIOD back to the end of the council meeting to in my mind discourage dialogue from the community. Four members including myself stood our ground to retain it in its current format and time. I have been terribly disappointed there has been little or no engagement from the community. Heck our council meetings now start @ 4 o'clock. You can be on your way home by 4:15 at the latest.

So "Keyboard Warriors" I challenge you here and now. Soldier up so to speak, and if you have something to say to me or any of the elected officials you sent down to city hall, come on down. I dare you.

The door is open and the lights are on. Come out of the shadows.


David Chesney



Tuesday 9 a.m.

New City Hall for White Rock, just what we don't need.

Pat Higinbotham

Just no. No. No. No.

Gary Worters

The question of the day how many of the existing council members will ever see the inside of this development

Susanne de Pencier

Enough already. Where is the infrastructure to support this. It already takes me literally 5 times longer to get from point A to point B than it did 6 years ago. What used to take five minutes now takes up to twenty-five. And that's when I'm not fighting a road closure due to seemingly endless construction blocking through routes so they can unload supplies or whatever. Stop! There is no where else to put any more traffic.

Crystal Slattery

I have said it before but these council members need to be sued.

Patsy Kealy

Just watch the people living in the new Royal Bank building squawk when this blocks out their views!

John B. Vye

Really pathetic attitude from a totally out-of-touch city council.

Gail Saiville-Thompson

First - Marine Drive needs to be addressed - what an embarrassment - buildings empty for years - unkept buildings

Lynn Legault

Is anyone else seeing what I’m seeing here, speaking of all the $ going to Surrey? Check out district 9! All those immigrant liberal votes. What a fn scam!!! And White Rock district 10 is 2/3s in the ocean!!! Like really??? Anyone?

May be an image of blueprint, floor plan, map and text

Lynn Legault

Pretty much. And a lot don’t even have that yet when they arrive.

Also Steven, it’s not just white people saying this. I’ve talked with brown people and asian people who are ashamed of their own for what’s going on and how.

Mark Wallin

Isn't the Mayors Husband a Developer? What's really happening here.



January 31, 2024

IN MY OPINION will not be a regular weekly column, but it will appear fairly often as the actions of White Rock council unfold.

I will note first and foremost the reason the column is called IN MY OPINION is that it is exactly that. I do not in any way shape or form intend anyone to think the thoughts that will be expressed here are of the current council. The other reason for it being called IN MY OPINION is for anyone in any way shape or form think I am violating the conduct of conduct this council was saddled with. And I do mean saddled. Over 30 pages of you will do this and you will not do that was not supported by me when the vote was taken. This document was crafted by God knows who because from my research it was not crafted by ALL the members of council, and perhaps there was no input from any members of council.


Corporate report dated January 29, 2024 from the Director of Planning and Development Services titled "Update on Recent Provincial Housing Initiatives and Regulation Requirements".


    THAT Council receive the Corporate report, titled “Update on Recent Provincial Housing Initiatives and Regulation Requirements,” dated January 29, 2024, from the Director of Planning and Development, for information.

    This item is a report only at this point. I do not in any way shape or from support proceeding with implementing the Provincial housing guidelines to our community. As I have previously mentioned and staff has now supported, the current Provincial guidelines DO NOT APPLY to White Rock.

    The Transit-Oriented Development Areas Designate by the regulation (in effect) designates 16 Lower Mainland communities that are currently listed as Development Areas. White Rock is not on that public list.


Corporate report dated January 29, 2024 from the Director of Engineering and Municipal Operations titled "Temporary Office and Council Chamber Options".


    THAT Council:

    1. Approve Option A “Relocate Council Chambers to Annex and Construct Offices in Vacated Space”; and

    2. Authorize staff to proceed with the renovations once the Financial Plan is approved.


      The expenditure to move and create a new council chamber is unnecessary in my opinion. If the city is in need of office space, the temporary office space should be created in the Annex building where the very expensive proposal to relocate the council chambers is being proposed. The cost to move and create a new council chamber and craft a few offices in the old council chambers will cost the taxpayers of White Rock a half million dollars. Yes you read that right. $500.000.00 dollars. But no money for a mural which would cost $30,000.00 dollars. (see below)




THAT Council:

  • decline the mural proposal from artist, Jim Davidson; and,

  • direct staff to communicate to Mr. Davidson the appropriate procedures for future mural proposals, in accordance with the Public Art Policy.

    I believe the decision to decline Mr. Davidson's mural proposal is very short sighted. As the city prepares to commemorate our original wall mural THE WYLAND WHALE WALL in uptown White Rock this would be a perfect tie in to the planned celebration. Mr. Davidson laid out a clear plan for monetizing the mural, the media coverage he had already secured, the first nations support and tie in and the environmental of all monies raised through posters during the mural's creation being dedicated to the Semiahmoo Fish & game organization.


There is a nucleus of council (4 votes) that for the most part will shape the future of White Rock for the next three years left in this four year term.

Do you wonder what their vision is? So do I, but we will just have to sit back and patiently for them to put their cards on the table.

If you don;t like highrise towers I think you are going to be in for a shock as I know for a fact none of the cabal of council knocked on doors and said "Hey vote for me I want to do what I THINK is best for White Rock.


Davdi Chesney





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