Anita Nielson and a group of her neighbours are concerned that a proposed four-storey apartment building will bring increased traffic, block ocean views and cause parking issues along Elm Street and Beachview Avenue in White Rock. (Nick Greenizan photo)

Anita Nielson and a group of her neighbours are concerned that a proposed four-storey apartment building will bring increased traffic, block ocean views and cause parking issues along Elm Street and Beachview Avenue in White Rock. (Nick Greenizan photo)

Price tag for preserving White Rock’s Elm Street heritage homes ‘very large’

Council refers designation question to city’s heritage committee

White Rock council will have to weigh the cost of preserving part of the city’s history.

At its Sept. 28 meeting, council passed along a plea for heritage protection for buildings on Elm Street and Beachview Avenue – and opposition to a development proposal there – to the city’s History and Heritage Advisory Committee.

The committee, scheduled to resume meeting in November, will be asked to work with the city planning department to develop a policy for the neighbourhood.

But Coun. David Chesney warned the resident presenting the petition that the price of protecting the character of the waterfront section of houses – one of the few remaining enclaves of pioneer-era homes in White Rock – would be steep.

Chesney said that, when last evaluated for the previous council, the cost of compensating the owners for the redevelopment potential of the properties had been placed at more than $5 million.

Council unanimously endorsed Coun. Anthony Manning’s motion to forward the matter to the committee, however.

READ ALSO: Too expensive to save century-old homes: City of White Rock

READ ALSO: Proposed White Rock development a ‘nightmare’ for Elm Street neighbours

Neighbourhood resident Anita Neilson had appeared before council electronically to present a 420-signature petition submitted earlier in September by “a group of concerned residents.”

The signers – opposing Development Proposal 20-009 – are also asking that a process for a heritage designation be initiated.

“As you know, Elm Street is a lovely and historic residential street located in the busy West Beach community off Marine Drive,” she said.

The corner of Elm Street and Beachview Avenue, Neilson said, is the site of a “lovely 1930s two-storey four-plex building, built into the natural grade,” she said.

Development proponents, however, wish to rezone the property as multipurpose, for a four-storey, 21-unit complex, with two additional storeys that will be required for 31 underground parking spaces, Neilson said, “and many of those will have to be above grade.”

The 21-units are going to increase the population density “immensely,” she said. “We’re going to go from a minimum, I suppose, of 21 people living in the building up to as many as 50 or more people, depending on family size,” she added.

“This is going to lead to a lot of parking congestion – I’m not sure how all of those cars are planning to travel up Elm and across Beachview to get into the parking garage. That’s also going to lead to increased pollution and increased noise.”

Neilson said residents are concerned that this is going to impact property values, primarily through loss of ocean views for numerous properties, as well as a loss of sun exposure and privacy as a result of the proposal.

“While the developer has assured us that the three majestic elm trees are to remain, it’s very difficult to believe that the roots are not going to be destroyed in the construction, particularly as they’re building the underground parking,” she said.

Neilson noted that in the current Official Community Plan, this block of Elm Street is part of the ‘waterfront village’ designation.

“One of things that we’re hoping is, during the review of the OCP, is that this block can be correctly designated as a residential area and receive appropriate zoning,” she said.

“We would like to have the city consider a heritage designation for Elm Street, or, specifically, for the four heritage homes that remain and perhaps in addition 1164 Elm Street, which is the property in question.”

Neilson said that Elm Street deserves preservation as one of White Rock’s oldest streetscapes. Attesting to its importance in the history of the city is the fact that an early 1900s photograph of the street is on display both in the window of White Rock Museum and Archives, and on a plaque on the promenade.

Planning and development director Carl Isaak told council that, at present, the only landmarks in the city that have a heritage designation are the ‘white rock,’ White Rock Museum and Archives (the former Great Northern station) and the pier.

He said that while there are provisions in the Local Government Act, and also processes under provincial regulations, for the unilateral designation of buildings or landmarks as heritage – which would significantly limit development potential – the provisions also mandate a negotiation of compensation with property owners.

Chesney commented that the price for that would be “very large” for the city.

“The previous council was asked to designate (these) homes heritage, and the price-tag associated with it, I believe, was over $5 million,” he said.

“Not that that’s a reason not to take a look at it, but it has been on the table before and, at least, the previous council thought that was a very expensive expenditure.”

Chesney said that, because the houses are not able to be rezoned for commercial purposes, “all the city could retrieve from taking them into the inventory would be rent.”

Coun. Scott Kristjanson said, however, that he was very supportive of council adopting a policy on heritage homes.

“We have some beautiful homes, not only in this neighbourhood, but also in other areas of the city,” he said. “We need a policy that describes how we make that happen.”



alex.browne@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

City of White RockdevelopmentHeritage

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

Just Posted

Pindie Dhaliwal, one of the organizers for the Surrey Challo protest for Indian farmers. She says organizers were told by Surrey RCMP that the event was not allowed due to COVID-19. Organizers ended up moving the protest to Strawberry Hill at the last minute. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Indian farmers rally moves as organizers say Surrey RCMP told them they couldn’t gather

Protest originally planned in Cloverdale, moved to Strawberry Hill

The City of Surrey is currently working through the initial phase for a park that’ll be built at 72 Avenue and 191 Street in Clayton. (Image via City of Surrey)
New park to be built in Clayton Heights

City of Surrey asking for feedback from Clayton residents

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at a Surrey high-intensity rehabilitation unit, Laurel Place. On Dec. 22, 2020, Fraser Health said four patients and two staff members have tested positive for the virus. (Image: Google Street View)
Fraser Health says COVID-19 outbreak over at Laurel Place in Surrey

Health authority declared outbreak over Jan. 16

(Photo by Kevin Hill)
40 cases linked to Surrey Memorial Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

Fraser Health says two death are associated with the outbreak

Surrey Council Chambers. (File photo)
Surrey city councillors complain not enough public input in committees

City has gone ‘exactly the opposite direction,’ Councillor Brenda Locke charges

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

sdf
Another Mission student arrested for assault, in 2nd case of in-school violence this week

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Most Read