Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Announcement from Mayor Wayne Baldwin | Thursday, January 25, 2018.

 
By the end of this term, I will have had the distinct honour and privilege of serving this community for a combined total of 30 years – 23 years as the City Manager for our spectacular seaside community and 7 years as Mayor of the City of White Rock, which means I have attended more than one thousand (1000) meetings of City Council!
After being elected to a second term as Mayor of White Rock, in December of 2014, I made the decision that this term was going to be my last term in Office. So, I would like to take this opportunity to publically announce that I will not be seeking re-election.

As a community volunteer, I have spent many hours participating and engaging in youth activities like coaching soccer, basketball, softball, baseball and track to name a few, as well as numerous community and international activities with the White Rock Rotary Club.
To help create a much-needed venue that allows our kids and grandkids to thrive by playing sports, I chaired the fundraising for the multi-use structure for the South Surrey Athletic Park baseball fields. I also chaired the fundraising and oversaw the construction and the operation of the Rotary Fieldhouse in South Surrey Athletic Park. It is incredible to see people using these venues to their full potential.
Arts and culture play an important role in our community, and we are lucky to have so many talented people on the Peninsula. This is why I supported the fundraising for the construction of the Coast Capital Playhouse.
I also look back with pride on the contributions I have made to the City while serving as both an employee and as the Mayor of this great community.
As City Manager, with the approval of City Council, and the assistance of longtime City employee, Doug Stone, I conceived of and oversaw, the construction of the promenade.  I also initiated: the purchase of the lower half of Centennial Park and the lower half of Rotary Park; the construction of the first Gold Leeds Standard building in BC (the Works Yard Building); and the purchase of the land for the new Fire Hall, and its subsequent construction. During those years the City received nine provincial and national awards for innovation and excellence, and our Financial Reserves for infrastructure renewal were created and grown.
As Mayor, I am honoured to have been able to represent the City on the Metro Vancouver Board, the TransLink Mayor’s Council, the Executive of the Union of B.C. Municipalities, and as a Trustee on the Municipal Pension Plan Board.

During this term, I am most proud that Council took the bold step to move forward and acquire the water utility. Without this action, we would not be in a position to initiate the processes we have taken to improve our water quality and supply. I want to take this opportunity to thank our Federal and Provincial partners who awarded the City a historic first— nearly $12 million dollars in grant funding through the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund to go towards our water treatment plant, which will be up and running by March 2019.
Council will continue to ensure the City’s infrastructure is updated in other areas as well so that White Rock remains a great and attractive place to live, work and play for generations to come. For example, Council is in the process of providing a host of community amenities such as the Parkade, additional parkland, and the renewed Memorial Park & Pier Washroom upgrades. There will also be other projects that will be completed or nearing completion by the fall such as the revitalized Johnston Road, the All Abilities all Levels Playground in Centennial Park, and the updated and safer railway crossings on the waterfront.
The City’s future is bright. There is a swell of optimism and positive change occurring which, while uncomfortable for some, is the way of the future. The City’s finances are secure. We now own our water utility. Our financial reserves are appropriate and substantial. We are in the process of receiving tens of millions of dollars in Community Amenity Contributions that, as per the Local Government Act, can only be used for community amenities. This allows us to improve our White Rock at no cost to the taxpayer – something which has never before been possible.
I want to thank Council for working with me during this term – it has been an honour to serve with you. I know you have always acted honestly with the best interests of the City in mind. I would also like to thank the Senior Management Team under the leadership of Dan Bottrill, and all the City Employees for their support and for working so hard to make this City a better place to live, work, and play.
I would be remiss if I did not also recognize the many citizens who volunteer to make this community better. Our community would not be what it is without your participation. Thank you for your support. For those of you who stepped forward to sit on one of our City Committees, it has been a great honour to work with you to help guide our City’s governance. We owe you a sincere debt of gratitude.
Finally, I want to especially thank my family, and in particular my wife, Jane, for their steadfast and unwavering support over these years – I could not have done this without them.
Thank you for the opportunity and the honour to serve as the Mayor of the City of White Rock. I am confident that the groundwork that has been done over the past seven years will truly benefit the work that future councils will be doing. It is time for the torch to be passed. 
Sincerely,  
Wayne Baldwin
Mayor of the City of White Rock 


Friday, 29 December 2017

EXPULSION FROM COUNCIL MEETINGS

THERE CONTINUES TO BE MUCH MADE BY SOME COUNCIL WATCHERS IN THE

 COMMUNITY  OVER THE NEAR - EXPULSION OF AN OLDER WOMAN FROM A

COUNCIL MEETING EVEN THOUGH THE ACTUAL INCIDENT TOOK PLACE MANY

MONTHS AGO.

 FOR THE RECORD, I WOULD LIKE TO STATE THE FACTS OF WHAT ACTUALLY

TOOK PLACE.

FIRST IT MUST BE NOTED THAT UNDER THE COMMUNITY CHARTER, S 132 STATES

THAT THE MAYOR MUST PRESERVE ORDER IN A COUNCIL MEETING.

S 133 STATES THAT IF THE PERSON PRESIDING AT A COUNCIL MEETING CONSIDERS

THAT ANOTHER PERSON AT THE MEETING IS ACTING IMPROPERLY, THE PERSON

PRESIDING MAY ORDER THAT THE PERSON IS EXPELLED FROM THE MEETING. AND,

IF THAT PERSON DOES NOT LEAVE , A PEACE OFFICER MAY ENFORCE THE ORDER AS

IF IT WERE A COURT ORDER.

IN ESSENCE, COUNCIL MEETINGS ARE CONSIDERED TO BE QUASI-JUDICIAL AND

REQUIRE THE SAME LEVEL OF DECORUM AS A COURT ROOM.  UNFORTUNATELY,

SOME PEOPLE HAVE A PROBLEM WITH ACCEPTING THAT, AND APPEAR TO THINK

ATTENDING A  COUNCIL MEETING IS AKIN TO BEING IN THE COLOSSEUM AND THEY

ACT ACCORDINGLY.


THE OCCASION IN QUESTION WAS A PUBLIC MEETING CONSIDERING THE DESIGN OF

A  HOUSE.  A WOMAN SPOKE AGAINST THE BYLAW AMENDMENTS

UNDER CONSIDERATION. SOME OF HER COMMENTS WERE CONSIDERED TO BE

PERSONALLY OFFENSIVE - TO THE POINT WHERE THE APPLICANT ROSE TO SPEAK

AFTER HER TO EXPRESS HOW HE AND HIS FAMILY WERE PERSONALLY OFFENDED

AT  HER REMARKS. "I'M REALLY ASTONISHED AT SOME OF THE COMMENTS

PERSONALLY MADE AT ME TONIGHT. I'VE NEVER SEEN THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOUR

BEFORE. I AM SHOCKED THAT THIS IS THE KIND OF PEOPLE THAT COME TO SPEAK

TO  YOU..."


 IN RESPONSE TO THE APPLICANT'S COMMENTS THERE WAS AN OUTBURST FROM

THE WOMAN SITTING IN THE AUDIENCE. SHE WAS ASKED FIRST TO STOP HER

COMMENTS, THEN WAS ASKED THREE TIMES TO EITHER APOLOGIZE OR LEAVE THE

COUNCIL CHAMBERS ,  WHEN SHE REFUSED TO DO EITHER, THE MEETING WAS

RECESSED AND  THE POLICE WERE CALLED IN TO REMOVE HER..

UNFORTUNATELY,  NOT BEING FAMILIAR WITH THE COMMUNITY CHARTER, THE

SHIFT COMMANDER DID NOT THINK HE HAD THE AUTHORITY TO DO SO.

RATHER THAN GET INTO AN ARGUMENT WITH HIM AT THAT TIME,  I DECIDED TO

RESUME THE MEETING AND CARRY ON REGARDLESS.


I HAVE SINCE TALKED WITH THE DETACHMENT COMMANDER AND HE AGREED  THE

0FFICERS WHO ATTENDED WERE MISINFORMED AND APOLOGIZED FOR THE ERROR.


 NOTHING , INCLUDING AGE,  GIVES ANYONE THE RIGHT TO MAKE

DEROGATORY, PERSONAL REMARKS.  THEY SHOULD NEVER BE TOLERATED .

NOR IS IGNORANCE  AN EXCUSE AS THE WOMAN WAS FORMERLY A MEMBER OF

COUNCIL.

IN FACT, SHE WAS THE FIRST MEMBER OF COUNCIL WHO WAS EVER CENSURED BY

COUNCIL,  AND FOR HER OFFENCE OF STRIKING ANOTHER MEMBER OF COUNCIL

WAS CENSURED AND REMOVED FROM ALL COMMITTEES FOR THE BALANCE OF HER

TERM OF OFFICE . DESPITE SEVERAL TRIES SHE WAS NEVER RE-ELECTED.


IN SUMMARY, IT IS VITALLY IMPORTANT TO MAINTAIN CIVILITY AND RESPECTFUL

DISCOURSE IN COUNCIL MEETINGS, INCLUDING PUBLIC HEARINGS/MEETINGS. NO

ONE IN THE AUDIENCE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO DISRUPT THE MEETING , TO MAKE

DEROGATORY REMARKS ABOUT ANYONE ELSE, OR TO INTIMIDATE OR DETRACT

FROM ANOTHER'S PRESENTATION.

IT WOULD BE VERY EASY FOR ME TO SIMPLY SAY, "LET 'ER RIP" AND TRY TO WORK

WITH THE RESULTANT CHAOS. HOWEVER, THAT IS NOT WHAT I WAS ELECTED TO

DO. MOREOVER, IT IS NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF PUBLIC DISCOURSE TO DO SO.

 AS LONG AS I AM MAYOR, WE WILL CONTINUE TO HAVE ORDER, AND

RESPECTFUL DISCOURSE AND PROCESS WILL PREVAIL IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBERS.
CANADA DAY 2017

TODAY WE ARE CELEBRATING THE 150TH BIRTHDAY OF OUR COUNTRY – 150 YEARS SINCE CONFEDERATION.
WE ARE A YOUNG COUNTRY.
 BUT IN OUR SHORT TIME AS A COUNTRY WE HAVE ACCOMPLISHED A GREAT DEAL.
WE ARE A COUNTRY THAT HAS CHOSEN DIVERSITY RATHER THAN EXCLUSION. AND TODAY THAT IS DEFINITELY ONE OF OUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTES AND STRENGTHS.
WE HAVE MADE MISTAKES IN OUR PAST, AND DOUBTLESS WILL MAKE MORE IN THE FUTURE.
THERE ARE SOME MISTAKES THAT CARRY GREAT SHAME AND GUILT- FOR EXAMPLE: THE KOMAGATA MARU INCIDENT IN 1914; THE TREATMENT AND INCARCERATION OF JAPANESE CANADIANS IN WW 2; AND PROBABLY THE WORST OF ALL – THE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL SYSTEM .

I AM TRULY GRATEFUL TO HAVE CHIEF HARLEY CHAPPELL HERE TODAY TO DELIVER HIS BLESSING AND HIS TEACHING, AND TO WELCOME US TO THE SEMIAHMOO TRADITIONAL LANDS AS WE CELEBRATE CANADA DAY.
ON APRIL 25, 1999 TWO TOTEMS WERE RAISED IN WHAT IS KNOWN AS TOTEM PARK. THE POLES WERE COMMISSIONED TO ACCOMPLISH 2 THINGS : FIRST, TO COMMEMORATE THE 125TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE RCMP, AND SECOND, TO ACKNOWLEDGE AND APOLOGIZE FOR THE WRONGS THAT WERE VISITED UPON THE FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE BY THE RCMP IN EXECUTING THE MOST WRONG – MINDED LAW WE HAVE EVER HAD – THE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL SYSTEM , WHICH BASICALLY TRIED TO DESTROY A PEOPLES CULTURE AND CULTURAL MEMORIES.
IN ESSENCE, THE RAISING OF THESE TOTEMS WAS THE FIRST STEP TOWARDS RECONCILIATION – 10 YEARS BEFORE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UNDERTOOK THE SAME CAUSE, AND 18 YEARS BEFORE THE GOVERNMENT REMOVED THE NAME OF HECTOR LANGEVIN, ONE OF THE ACKNOWLEDGED FATHERS OF CONFEDERATION, FROM THE PARLIAMENT BUILDING IN OTTAWA, BECAUSE LANGEVIN WAS ONE OF THE STRONGEST ADVOCATES OF THE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL SYSTEM.
CONSEQUENTLY, THE TOTEMS HAVE A SHARED VALUE – THEY  HONOUR THE CULTURES OF BOTH OUR COMMUNITIES, AND THEY HONOUR THE ROLE OF THE RCMP – WHO ARE HERE TODAY PROVIDING US WITH PROTECTION AND SECURITY.

SO, WITH THAT IN MIND TODAY, WE ARE CELEBRATING AND ACKNOWLEDGING OUR SHARED HISTORY.
AT TIMES IT HAS BEEN DIFFICULT AND CHALLENGING TO REFLECT UPON, BUT IN OTHER INSTANCES IT IS INSPIRING AND EXEMPLIFIES THE VALUES THAT DEFINE US TODAY AS CANADIANS. SUCH VALUES PROMPTED FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE U.S. , BARRACK OBAMA TO DECLARE “THE WORLD NEEDS MORE CANADA”.
WE ARE TRULY BLESSED TO LIVE IN SUCH AN INCREDIBLE COUNTRY.
IN 2017, THE U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT RANKED CANADA NO. 1 OUT OF 80 FOR QUALITY OF LIFE , AND WHEN ALL OTHER FACTORS INCLUDING CULTURAL INFLUENCE, ENTRPRENEURSHIP , AND BEING OPEN FOR BUSINESS, WERE FACTORED IN WE CAME SECOND ONLY TO SWITZERLAND.
THERE ARE OTHER ATTRIBUTES THAT MAKE US TRULY GREAT:
DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW.
A RELATIVELY PEACEFUL AND UNIFIED POPULATION.
AND RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND MULTICULTURALISM.



WE ARE A PEACEFUL COUNTRY, BUT THAT PEACEFUL DEMEANOR DOES NOT MEAN THAT WE CANNOT STEP UP WHEN IT COUNTS AS WE HAVE CONSISTENTLY SHOWN AT THE SOMME, VIMY, DIEPPE, JUNO BEACH, THE SCHELDT, KAPYONG IN KOREA, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, AND KANDAHAR.
AND THEN WE HAVE THE SNOWBIRDS.
SO YES, WE HAVE A LOT TO BE PROUD OF.
DIVERSITY IS OUR STRENGTH, SO LET US ALL STRIVE TO ENSURE A BETTER FUTURE FOR SUCCEEDING GENERATIONS OF CANADIANS OF ALL ETHNIC ORIGINS. TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER.

HAPPY CANADA DAY , EVERYONE

Monday, 26 June 2017

WHITE ROCK WATER FACTS

                    WATER UTILITY PURCHASE 


WHY WAS IT PURCHASED ?

THERE WERE 2 PREVIOUS OPPORTUNITIES TO PURCHASE THE UTILITY.
IN THE LATE 1980’S IT WAS OFFERED TO THE CITY FOR PURCHASE, BUT DESPITE THE RECOMMENDATION FROM STAFF TO ACQUIRE IT, THE COUNCIL OF THE DAY DECIDED AGAINST THE PURCHASE.
IN 2005, ALTHOUGH THE UTILITY WAS NOT ON THE MARKET, EPCOR APPROACHED THE OWNERS WITH AN OFFER TO PURCHASE. THE CITY DID NOT KNOW ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY UNTIL AFTER EPCOR HAD AN ACCEPTED OFFER.
IN JANUARY , 2013, AS PART OF THEIR RATE APPLICATION TO THE COMPTROLLER OF WATER RIGHTS FOR 2014 -2017,  EPCOR ANNOUNCED A $12M TWQMP. THIS INCLUDED CHLORINATION OF THE CITY WATER (AS DIRECTED BY FRASER HEALTH) AND UPGRADES TO THE DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM INCLUDING AN INCREASE TO THE STORAGE CAPACITY AND A REPLACEMENT OF THE SEISMICALLY CHALLENGED MERKLIN WATER TOWER.
THE RESULTANT RATE STRUCTURE WOULD CAUSE THE WATER RATES TO INCREASE BY 80% OVER THE 3 YEARS.
THIS ANNOUNCEMENT CAUSED CITY COUNCIL IN  FEBRUARY, 2013 TO DIRECT STAFF TO EXAMINE THE RATE APPLICATION AND REPORT BACK. THE CONCLUSION OF STAFF WAS THAT BY THE END OF 2017, EPCOR WOULD BE REALIZING A PROFIT OF $1M ANNUALLY FROM OUR RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES.
COUNCIL DECIDED THAT RATHER THAN SEND THAT MUCH MONEY TO EDMONTON, IT COULD BE PUT TO BETTER USE BY BUYING THE UTILITY AND APPLYING THE PROFIT MARGIN TO: PAYING OFF THE LOAN NEEDED TO PURCHASE IT, IMPROVING THE SYSTEM, AND REDUCING THE WATER BILLS TO BELOW THE LEVELS APPROVED FOR EPCOR.
IN JUNE,2013 STAFF WERE DIRECTED TO COMMENCE NEGOTIATIONS WITH EPCOR TO PURCHASE THE UTILITY. NEGOTIATIONS PROCEEDED VERY SLOWLY , THROUGH THE TERM OF OFFICE OF THE PREVIOUS COUNCIL, AND INTO THE TERM OF THE CURRENT COUNCIL. EPCOR KNEW THEY HAD A CASH COW IN WHITE ROCK AND WERE RELUCTANT TO GIVE IT UP.
FINALLY, AFTER THREATENING EPCOR WITH  EXPROPRIATION, THE LOG JAM WAS OPENED UP AND IN OCTOBER, 2015 , MORE THAN 2 YRS AFTER COMMENCING NEGOTIATIONS, THE CITY TOOK POSSESSION OF THE UTILITY WITH A PAYMENT OF $14 M.
THIS IS NOT THE FINAL PRICE , BUT IT IS BELIEVED TO BE CLOSE TO THE FINAL PRICE, AND NEGOTIATIONS ARE STILL ONGOING TO ARRIVE AT THE FINAL FIGURE.
IT HAS BEEN A FRUSTRATINGLY SLOW PROCESS FOR COUNCIL AND STAFF. IT IS SAFE TO SAY, EPCOR HAS NOT BEEN IN ANY HURRY TO FINALIZE THIS MATTER. NONETHELESS, IT IS OUR EXPECTATION THAT THE NEGOTIATION ( AND ARBITRATION IF NECESSARY) SHOULD BE CONCLUDED IN THE NEAR FUTURE. ONCE IT IS KNOWN THE FINAL NUMBER WILL BE IMMEDIATELY MADE PUBLIC.


ARSENIC AND MANGANESE REMOVAL

IT MUST BE FIRST NOTED THAT WHITE ROCK’S WATER EXCEEDS THE CANADIAN DRINKING WATER STANDARD IN ALL RESPECTS. TO THE CITY’S KNOWLEDGE THE WATER QUALITY HAS NOT MATERIALLY CHANGED FOR MANY DECADES, BUT THE DRINKING WATER STANDARDS HAVE GOTTEN STRICTER, AND THE REQUIREMENT TO CHLORINATE THE WATER WAS DIRECTED BY FRASER HEALTH IN RESPONSE TO THE 2010 BOIL WATER ORDER.
THERE ARE 2 FUNDAMENTAL OPTIONS TO DEAL WITH THIS MATTER AND IMPROVE THE WATER QUALITY BY REDUCING THE MANGANESE AND THE ARSENIC CONTENT.
THE FIRST WOULD BE TO ABANDON THE USE OF THE AQUIFER AND SEEK TO JOIN METRO VANCOUVER.
JOINING METRO WAS NEVER AN OPTION OPEN TO EPCOR, SO THEY NEVER LOOKED AT IT. THE CITY INQUIRED OF METRO THE COST OF JOINING IN 2013 AND WERE TOLD IT WOULD COST $28M AND WOULD TAKE AN ESTIMATED 4 YEARS. GIVEN THE NUMBERS ARE FROM 2013, IT WOULD BE SAFE TO SAY IT IS NOW MORE LIKE $30M.
ALTERNATIVELY , THE CITY COULD LOOK AT TREATING THE WATER ITSELF. THIS WAS ESTIMATED TO COST $14M , AND WOULD TAKE ABOUT 2 YEARS TO COMPLETE. AS A RESULT OF RECEIVING THE FEDERAL/PROVINCIAL WATER QUALITY GRANT THAT AMOUNT WAS REDUCED TO $2M.
THE CHOICE SEEMS OBVIOUS.



SUPPOSE THE UTILITY WAS STILL OWNED BY EPCOR

THE RESIDENTS WOULD BE PAYING  FOREVER FOR THE IMPROVEMENTS TO IN THE TWQMP. $1M WOULD BE LEAVING THE CITY IN PERPETUITY FOR EDMONTON.
EPCOR WERE NOT PLANNING ON LOOKING AT WATER QUALITY IMPROVEMENT BY REDUCING ARSENIC AND MANGANESE UNTIL AFTER 2017, AND UNTIL DIRECTED TO DO SO BY FHA.
THE WATER PROBLEMS WOULD BE NO DIFFERENT. THE CITY’S WATER STAFF ARE THE FORMER EPCOR EMPLOYEES.
INFORMATION ON WATER QUALITY WOULD NOT BE AS FORTHCOMING.


WHY IS THE CITY WITHHOLDING INFORMATION ON THE BUSINESS CASE?

THE CITY’S BUSINESS CASE HAS BEEN REQUESTED VIA A FOI REQUEST, AND HAS BEEN DENIED BY THE CITY.
PROVIDING THE BUSINESS CASE PUBLICLY WOULD GIVE EPCOR HELPFUL INFORMATION IN THE NEGOTIATING PROCESS AND WOULD NOT BE IN THE PUBLIC’S BEST INTEREST AT THIS TIME.
AN ANALOGY WOULD BE TO MAKE AN OFFER TO PURCHASE A HOUSE AT LOWER THAN THE ASKING PRICE (SAY $800,000), BUT THEN TELL YOUR REALTOR TO LET THE VENDOR KNOW YOU ARE WILLING TO GO TO $850,000.
WHAT NUMBER DO YOU THINK THE VENDOR WOULD GO FOR?
THE BUSINESS CASE WILL BE PUBLICLY AVAILABLE AFTER THE NEGOTIATIONS ARE CONCLUDED, BUT NOT BEFORE.


I TRUST THIS CLARIFIES THE WATER UTILITY SITUATION AND CORRECTS THE MISINFORMATION CIRCULATING IN THE COMMUNITY IN SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE PRESS.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Canada Day 149th Birthday.

I am a proud Canadian and wish to share my Canada Day post.
Being Canadian I will apologize for those who were there and are hearing it a second time.



I am here to bring greetings on behalf of the City of White Rock and am accompanied by Councillors Lawrence, Sinclair, Knight, Chesney and Fathers.

Thank you to all of the sponsors, organizers, and City Staff for all the work they have put into this event.  As always, they have done a wonderful job.

Today we gather to recognize and celebrate our country's 149th birthday.  There is much to celebrate.
Our country has achieved a unique status in the world.
We do not have the biggest army in the world.  While we are respected, we are not feared.
We are not the richest and most economically influential.  If something goes off the rails for one of our biggest companies, the market is not sent into a tailspin.
We do not even have the Stanley Cup anymore....YET!

What we do have is a culture of acceptance, diversity, and stability.
This is widely known and acknowledged.
As a result Google gets huge spikes in enquiries about how to move to Canada from Americans fearful over the possibility of a Trump presidency , and Brits who are stunned by Brexit.

We have the President of the United States stating  in Parliament that "the world needs more Canada"

So what we have, what we are, is special.

It must be protected and nurtured.  It must not be allowed to wither from neglect.  It must never be taken for granted.

This is our Canada and it is quite simply, the best country in the world.

Thank you for coming today to share your Canadian spirit and pride.

Have a wonderful Canada Day.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Ocean Ridge Fire

June 29, 2016,  I spoke to our community concerning the Ocean Ridge Fire.  This is the speech. 

OCEAN RIDGE FIRE

THANKS TO THE ORGANIZERS OF THIS EVENT. IT IS AN AMAZING ACCOMPLISHMENT TO PULL THIS TOGETHER IN SUCH A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.
THE MORNING OF MAY 15, HAD A PROFOUND EFFECT ON MANY PEOPLE. MOST PARTICULARLY, THOSE WHO LIVED AND WORKED IN THE OCEAN RIDGE , AND THE OWNERS OF THE BUILDING UNDER CONSTRUCTION NEXT DOOR WHERE THIS UNTHINKABLE ACT OF ARSON WAS COMMITTED.
CITY COUNCIL HAS BEEN ASKED, “WAS THERE A PLAN TO DEAL WITH THIS TYPE OF EMERGENCY? “
THE ANSWER IS YES WE DID, AND IT WORKED MAGNIFICENTLY.
WHEN A WATER SYSTEM IS DESIGNED, ITS CAPACITY IS SIZED TO DEAL WITH THE WORST CONCEIVABLE EVENT. ONCE THAT CAPACITY IS KNOWN A LARGE SAFETY FACTOR IS ADDED TO ALLOW FOR A REALLY UNLIKELY POSSIBILITY.
DURING THE COURSE OF THIS FIRE THE DESIGN CAPACITY OF OUR WATER SYSTEM WAS EXCEEDED BY MORE THAN 300%.


EVERY ONE OF OUR FIREFIGHTERS AND THEIR 3 PIECES OF EQUIPMENT PLUS IN EXCESS OF 25 SURREY FIREFIGHTERS AND ANOTHER 6 FIRETRUCKS AND 2 PIECES OF SUPPORT VEHICLES FROM 7 SURREY FIREHALLS WERE ON SITE FIGHTING THIS FIRE. EVERY 3 MINUTES THEY DUMPED THE EQUIVALENT OF A LARGE BACK YARD SWIMMING POOL ON THE FIRE . THIS WENT ON FOR 6 HOURS.
THAT IS A LOT OF WATER.
I AM HERE TO TELL YOU I AM VERY PROUD TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH THOSE FIREFIGHTERS – BOTH WHITE ROCK AND SURREY. THEIR BRAVERY AND SKILL WERE MOST IMPRESSIVE.
BUT THIS IS NOT JUST A STORY ABOUT FIREFIGHTERS. THIS IS A LOT MORE THAN PUTTING OUT THE BIGGEST FIRE THIS PENEINSULA HAS SEEN. THIS IS ABOUT HOW A LARGER TEAM PERFORMED AND HOW THE COMMUNITY STEPPED IN AND SHOWED EVERYONE HOW A COMMUNITY SHOULD ACT,
THE RCMP HELPED EVACUATE PEOPLE FROM THE BUILDING IN THE FIRST INSTANCE AND THEN CARRIED OUT TRAFFIC , CROWD, AND SECURITY CONTROL FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE DAY. OUR MEMBERS WERE AIDED BY SURREY AND LANGLEY DETACHMENTS.

OUR PUBLIC WORKS STAFF ARRIVED SOON AFTER THE FIREFIGHTERS, AND SANDBAGGED DRIVEWAYS TO THE SOUTH BECAUSE ALL THAT WATER HAD TO GO SOMEWHERE.  THEY ALSO CONTINUALLY CHECKED THE WATERFLOW AND CAPACITYOF THE RESERVOIRS. WHEN IT BECAME NECESSARY, THEY BEGAN TO OPEN THE NEVER BEFORE USED CROSS CONNECTIONS TO SURREY.
AND THEN THERE WAS THE EMERGENVY SOCIAL SERVICES (ESS) TEAM FROM RECREATION AND CULTURE AND RCMP VICTIM SERVICES, WHO APPEARED AT THE ARENA BEFORE 6 AM AND RECEIVED THE EVACUEES AT THE ARENA AS THEY ARRIVED IN THE BUSES ORDERED BY THE FIRE CHIEF.
THIS GROUP PROCESSED THE EVACUEES, MOST OF WHOM HAD ONLY THE CLOTHES ON THEIR BACK, AND PROVIDED ALL THE SUPPORT THEY COULD INCLUDING HOT COFFEE AND FOOD. LATER THEY ALSO ARRANGED FOR EMERGENCY LODGING AND FOR INSURANCE ADJUSTERS TO COME AND GIVE ADVICE AND ASSISTANCE.




IT WAS ABOUT AT THIS TIME THAT THE COMMUNITY SUPPORT  REALLY BEGAN TO KICK IN. BOSTON PIZZA SENT DOZENS OF PIZZA OVER; 5 CORNERS VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT SENT A VAN LOADED WITH SOUP; PEOPLE STARTED TO ARRIVE WITH FOOD, BLANKETS, CLOTHING, PET FOOD, AND EVEN FURNITURE AT THE ARENA. THERE WERE ALSO OFFERINGS OF EMERGENCY ACCOMMODATION MADE AS WELL.
AFTER THE FIRE WAS OUT ARRANGEMENTS WERE MADE FOR FIREFIGHTERS TO ENTER THE BUILDING , ONE UNIT AT A TIME, TO TRY TO SALVAGE PEOPLE’S VALUABLES FOR THEM. I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF THAT HAPPENING IN ANY OTHER COMMUNITY.
THE DAY AFTER THE FIRE, THE ESS STAFF ARRANGED FOR MORE INSURANCE REPRESENTATIVES TO BE AT THE ARENA TO ANSWER QUESTIONS . DONATIONS CONTINUED TO ARRIVE AT THE ARENA, AND THE LOCAL CHURCHES AND SOURCES BECAME INVOLVED IN THE ACCEPTANCE , STORAGE , AND DISTRIBUTION OF DONATIONS.
THE GENEROSITY AND SUPPORT CONTINUES.
LAURA CORNALE STARTED AN ONLINE FUNDRAISING SITE , WHICH QUICKLY GREW TO $20,000 BEFORE SHE HANDED IT OVER TO SOURCES. IT IS NOW OVER $45,000 WITH MORE COMING.

I HAVE BEEN TOLD BY PASTOR PETER KLEMMERTHAT THE LOCAL CHURCHES HAVE RAISED A FURTHER $30,000 , AND THAT ULTIMATELY, THE TOTAL AMOUNT THAT SOURCES WILL HAVE DISBURSED TO THOSE IN NEED WILL BE IN THE ORDER OF $110,000.
LOCAL BUSINESSES HELPED EACH OTHER OUT. OUR DISPLACED BARBER, MOE, WAS GIVEN SPACE AT SIN 7 , AND DISCOUNTS AND FREE MEALS WERE GIVEN TO THE EVACUEES. THE WOODEN SPOON CLOSED ITS DOORS TO SERVE A MEAL ON MAY 17 TO THE EVACUEES USING FOOD SUPPLIED BY PENGUIN MEATS , SEASIDE MARKET, AND WHITE ROCK BEACH BEER COMPANY.
THE LIST GOES ON.

I HAVE BEEN ASKED, “DID WE LEARN ANYTHING FROM THIS?”
THE ANSWER IS , YES WE DID.
WE LEARNED THAT IT PAYS TO HAVE GOOD NEIGHBOURS – WE OWE A SPECIAL GRATITUDE OF DEBT TO THE CITY OF SURREY.
WE LEARNED THAT THE THINGS THAT UNITE US AS A COMMUNITY ARE INFINITELY GREATER THAN THE THINGS THAT SEEK TO DIVIDE US.
WE ALSO LEARNED THAT , WHEN THERE IS AN EMERGENCY GOOD PEOPLE SHOW THEIR TRUE COLOURS AND STEP UP TO DO THE RIGHT THING.
THIS IS WHY I FEEL SO PRIVILEGED TO BE A PART OF THIS COMMUNITY AND IT IS WHY WE ARE HERE TODAY TO CELEBRATE OUR COMMUNITY.

THANK YOU

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Mayors Inaugural Speech December 1, 2014


INAUGURAL SPEECH, DECEMBER 2014

 

WELCOME EVERYONE TO THE INAUGURAL MEETING OF CITY COUNCIL FOR THE 2014 TO 2018 TERM – THE FIRST 4 YEAR TERM IN WHITE ROCK.

 GREETINGS TO THE  FAMILIES AND FRIENDS OF ALL THE ELECTED MEMBERS OF COUNCIL WHO HAVE BEEN ABLE TO MAKE IT TONIGHT.

       I AM GOING TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO ALSO SPECIALLY THANK MY FAMILY WHO HAVE BEEN SO SUPPORTIVE OF ME THROUGH THIS PAST 3 YEARS, AND MOST PARTICULARLY , MY WIFE JANE WHO HAS STOOD BESIDE ME AND BEEN SUCH A HELP  & NOW HAS TO DO IT FOR ANOTHER 4 YEARS.

 A SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL THOSE INVITED GUESTS WHO HAVE TAKEN THE TIME TO JOIN US FOR THIS EVENING. WE ARE HONOURED BY YOUR PRESENCE.

 

I BELIEVE IT IS IMPORTANT TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE HARD WORK AND DEDICATION OF THE TWO COUNCILLORS FROM THE PAST TERM WHO WILL NOT BE MOVING FORWARD WITH US IN THIS TERM – AL CAMPBELL AND LOUISE HUTCHINSON.

BOTH AL AND LOUISE WERE OUTSPOKEN AND PASSIONATE ABOUT THE CITY AND CONTINUALLY WORKED VERY HARD FOR ITS BETTERMENT. I SHALL MISS THEIR INPUT, THEIR HUMOUR , AND THEIR STRONG WORK ETHIC. THEY BOTH LED BY EXAMPLE AND CONTRIBUTED GREATLY TO OUR COMMUNITY.

 

I WANT TO THANK THE VOTERS WHO HAVE ELECTED ME AS YOUR MAYOR FOR THIS TERM. I PROMISE YOU I WILL CONTINUE TO DO MY BEST TO PROVIDE YOU WITH GOOD GOVERNANCE AND LEADERSHIP OVER THE NEXT FOUR YEARS.

FINALLY, I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO THANK THE VOTERS FOR ELECTING A STRONG COUNCIL THAT I BELIEVE WILL BE ABLE TO WORK COHESIVELY AND CONSTRUCTIVELY FOR THE CITY FOR THIS TERM.

THAT DOES NOT MEAN TO SAY THAT THERE WILL BE UNANIMOUS VOTES ON ALL ISSUES. TO THE CONTRARY, I BELIEVE THAT  PARTICULARLY ON KEY MATTERS, WE SHOULD CONSIDER ALL SIDES OF THE ISSUE BEFORE COMING TO A DECISION, AND I WILL BE ENCOURAGING DEBATE SO THAT WE ARE ABLE TO BENEFIT FROM DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES BEFORE WE VOTE. HOWEVER, ONCE THE VOTE IS DONE IT MUST BE RECOGNIZED THAT A DECISION OF COUNCIL HAS BEEN MADE , AND WE HAVE TO GO WITH THAT.


THE VOTERS HAVE GIVEN A STRONG MANDATE TO THIS COUNCIL TO ENCOURAGE CONTROLLED GROWTH IN THIS CITY.

THE IMMEDIATE CHALLENGE FOR THIS COUNCIL WILL BE TO PUT LIMITS ON THE GROWTH AND CONTROL THE RATE OF CHANGE.

ONE OF THE PRIORITIES WE WILL HAVE WILL BE TO REVIEW CERTAIN ASPECTS OF THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY PLAN, TO ENSURE THAT SPECULATION IS CONTAINED AND PEOPLE HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING OF ANY GROWTH POTENTIAL THERE MIGHT BE. WE WILL ALSO BE REVIEWING THE ZONING BYLAWS TO PROACTIVELY AND EFFECTIVELY DEAL WITH THE MATTER OF SO-CALLED “ MONSTER  HOUSES” AND COACH HOUSES IN THE SINGLE FAMILY ZONES.

GROWTH AND CHANGE ARE TWO CONSTANTS IN OUR LIVES. IF YOU HAVE STUDIED MICROBIOLOGY OR HAVE LISTENED TO DAVID SUZUKI YOU WILL KNOW THAT AN ORGANISM THAT CEASES TO GROW OR MULTIPLY AND CEASES TO BE ABLE TO ADAPT TO CHANGE WILL FAIL AND DIE.

SO IT IS WITH CITIES.

WE MUST LEARN TO ACCEPT AND CONTROL GROWTH BECAUSE IT IS A FACT OF LIFE . WHITE ROCK’S GROWTH IS VERY SMALL AND MANAGEABLE – ABOUT 120 TO 150 PEOPLE OR 3/4 %  PER YEAR  – AND WE WANT TO KEEP IT THAT WAY.

 

ANOTHER PRIORITY OF THIS COUNCIL WILL BE TO DEAL WITH THE MATTER OF THE REMOVAL  OF DANGEROUS GOODS AND THE TRAIN TRACKS FROM OUR WATERFRONT. I WILL BE THE FIRST TO ADMIT THIS WILL BE NO EASY TASK, BUT IT IS DOABLE AND IT IS ONE I AM DETERMINED TO TAKE  ON AND DO THE BEST I CAN TO ACCOMPLISH.

TO THIS END I CAN TELL YOU I HAVE ALREADY STARTED DISCUSSIONS WITH NEIGHBOURING MUNICIPALITIES AND WILL BE PURSUING OUR CAUSE WITH RELEVANT U.S. CITIES, SENIOR GOVERNMENTS , BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS , THE BURLINGTON NORTHERN RAILWAY, CITIZEN GROUPS, AND THE LIKE , IN ORDER TO PUT TOGETHER A VIABLE BUSINESS CASE FOR THIS UNDERTAKING.

 


A THIRD PRIORITY OF THIS COUNCIL WILL BE TO FINALIZE THE PURCHASE OF THE WATER UTILITY FROM EPCOR. EPCOR IS AN EXTREMELY COMPETENT OPERATOR OF THE FACILITY – THERE CAN BE NO DOUBT OF THAT. BUT THE PROSPECT OF WELL OVER A MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR LEAVING OUR TAXPAYERS’ POCKETS TO HELP KEEP THE CITY OF EDMONTON’S PROPERTY TAXES DOWN IS JUST NOT  ACCEPTABLE.   AT THE END OF THE DAY, THAT IS A KEY DRIVER FOR THIS ACQUISITION.


A FOURTH PRIORITY FOR COUNCIL WILL BE TO MAINTAIN OUR UNIQUELY HIGH LEVEL OF PUBLIC SAFETY.

ONE OF THE CHARACTERISTICS OF OUR CITY THAT DISTINGUISHES US FROM SURREY IS THE LEVEL OF FIRE AND POLICE PROTECTION WE ENJOY. THERE IS A COST TO THIS  - AND TO A DEGREE IT MAKES OUR TAXES HIGHER THAN SURREY’S.  HOWEVER, THE LEVEL OF RESPONSIVENESS, THE “NO CALL TOO SMALL” OPERATING STANDARD WE MAINTAIN, IS THE RESULT OF A STRONG, SUSTAINED INVESTMENT – ONE THAT GREATLY BENEFITS US ALL.

WE WILL NOT LET THAT BE COMPROMISED.


A FIFTH PRIORITY IS THAT WE WILL BE CONTINUING TO PROMOTE ARTS AND CULTURE IN THE COMMUNITY. WE WANT ARTS AND CULTURE TO BECOME A REAL ECONOMIC GENERATOR FOR US.

OVER THE PAST 3 YEARS THERE HAS BEEN A DEFINITE INCREASE IN FESTIVALS AS A WAY OF CELEBRATING AND PROMOTING ARTS AND CULTURE IN OUR COMMUNITY. WE WANT TO SUSTAIN THESE EVENTS  AND BUILD UPON THEM FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS.

NEW EVENTS SUCH AS THE CHINESE MOON FESTIVAL,AND  DIWALI,  HAVE SERVED TO HIGHLIGHT OUR DIVERSITY.

THE SEA FESTIVAL CELEBRATION WAS ON THE VERGE OF BEING LOST , BUT WITH THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF COUNCIL, A DETERMINED GROUP OF COMMUNITY VOLUNTEERS CAME FORWARD TO REVIVE IT, AND DID SO IN SPECTACULAR FASHION THIS PAST SUMMER.

OUR TWO MONTH LONG ART FESTIVAL WHICH CULMINATED WITH THE CELEBRATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL  ARTIST DAY, HAS HAD TWO SUCCESSFUL YEARS AND CONTINUES TO GET BETTER AND BETTER.

FOR TWO CONSECUTIVE YEARS NOW, WE HAVE BEEN THE BENEFICIARIES OF THE MONTH LONG IRISH FESTIVAL IN THE SPRING – WHEN IRISH EYES ARE SMILING.


OUR STAFF HAVE BEEN ABLE TO ORGANIZE TWO SPECTACULAR AD HOC EVENTS – THE RCMP MUSICAL RIDE IN 2013, AND THROUGH THE AUSPICES OF THE CH.I.L.D FOUNDATION AND OUR VERY OWN SCOTT HARROLD , ONE OF THE FOUNDATION DIRECTORS – THE SNOWBIRD AIRSHOW IN 2014.

FOR THE PAST 6 YEARS, LIV BUTOW, AND HER BOARD OF DIRECTORS HAVE PUT ON THE CELEBRATION OF CHRISTMAS ON THE PENINSULA AT THE COMMUNITY CENTRE. THIS ONE DAY EVENT MARKS THE KICK-OFF OF THE CHRISTMAS FESTIVITIES FOR THE PENINSULA. THIS YEARS’ CELEBRATION WAS PROBABLY THE BEST-ATTENDED ONE OF THE SIX NOTWITHSTANDING THE COLD WEATHER.

THIS SPIRIT OF INVOLVEMENT AND A RELUCTANCE TO LET TRADITIONS DIE HAS PROMPTED THE SEMIAHMOO PENINSULA’S ROYAL CANADIAN MARINE RESCUE SOCIETY TO TAKE ON THE ORGANIZATION OF THE ANNUAL POLAR BEAR SWIM FROM THE MONARCH LIONS CLUB WHO AFTER 44 YEARS ARE NO LONGER ABLE TO SUSTAIN IT.

IT IS THIS SPIRIT OF GIVING AND INVOLVEMENT THAT REALLY MAKES OUR COMMUNITY GREAT.

 

SIXTH , THIS COUNCIL WILL WORK TO ACTIVELY SEEK OUT NEW BUSINESSES TO COME AND FILL OUR EMPTY STORES SO WE CAN PROVIDE BETTER SERVICES FOR OUR RESIDENTS AND A MORE ROBUST AND SUSTAINABLE TAX BASE FOR THE COMMUNITY. TO THIS END WE WILL WORK WITH OUR EXISTING BUSINESSES, THE BIA, THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, AND TOURISM WHITE ROCK TO ACCOMPLISH OUR GOAL.

IT IS WORTHWHILE TO NOTE THAT COUNCIL RECENTLY RECOGNIZED 53 BUSINESSES OR ENTERPRISES, STILL ACTIVE IN THE CITY, THAT HAVE BEEN IN BUSINESS FOR MORE THAN 25 YEARS.  THAT IS QUITE AMAZING, AND SHOWS WHAT YOU CAN DO WHEN YOU CONSISTENTLY PROVIDE GOOD SERVICE COMBINED WITH A GOOD PRODUCT. CHIEF AMONG THOSE BUSINESSES WAS PENGUIN MEATS WITH 50 YEARS, THE WHITE ROCK PLAYERS CLUB WITH 60 YEARS, AND WHITE ROCK TRAVEL WITH 62 YEARS IN BUSINESS. ABSOLUTELY REMARKABLE !


I WOULD LIKE TO TAKE A MOMENT  TO BRIEFLY REFLECT ON THE CITY’S FINANCIAL SITUATION, BECAUSE IT WAS FREQUENTLY CALLED INTO QUESTION DURING THE ELECTION.

SO, JUST TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT ONCE AND FOR ALL. WHITE ROCK IS IN EXCELLENT SHAPE FINANCIALLY – BETTER BY FAR THAN MANY  MUNICIPALITIES.

WE HAVE BEEN SETTING MONEY ASIDE IN RESERVES FOR PLANNED INFRASTRUCTURE AND EQUIPMENT REPLACEMENT. WE ARE ONE OF THE FEW MUNICIPALITIES THAT HAVE NO DEBT.

OUR PER CAPITA SPENDING FOR MUNICPAL SERVICES IS BELOW THE REGIONAL AVERAGE.

WE DO HAVE THE 4TH HIGHEST RESIDENTIAL  TAXES IN THE REGION , BUT THAT IS NOT DUE TO OUT OF CONTROL SPENDING, IT IS DUE IN LARGE PART TO THE FACT THAT WE HAVE  SUCH A SMALL COMMERCIAL TAX BASE. THE AVERAGE FOR THE REGION IS 40% AND OURS IS 10%.

SO ANY THOUGHT THAT WE ARE IN DIRE FINANCIAL STRAITS IS TOTALLY WITHOUT MERIT.


IN CONCLUSION, I WANT TO SAY, WE HAVE IN PLACE AN ENGAGED, HARD-WORKING, TALENTED SENIOR MANAGEMENT TEAM TO DO THE WORK, AND AN ENTHUSIASTIC , EAGER , AND DEDICATED ELECTED COUNCIL , AND SO I HAVE EVERY REASON TO BELIEVE THIS WILL BE A PRODUCTIVE, PROGRESSIVE FOUR YEARS FOR US.

BUT, NOBODY HAS EVER DONE VERY WELL IN TRYING TO DRIVE A CAR BY LOOKING ONLY IN THE REAR VIEW MIRROR.

TO A VERY LARGE DEGREE THAT WAS WHAT THIS ELECTION WAS ALL ABOUT. DO WE TRY TO  LIVE IN THE PAST OR DO WE MOVE AHEAD?  THE PUBLIC’S CHOICE WAS VERY CLEAR .

THEY WANT US TO DRIVE THE CAR BY LOOKING AT THE ROAD AHEAD WHILE BEING AWARE OF WHAT IS HAPPENING AROUND US.  HOWEVER, WE MUST OCCASIONALLY CHECK THE REARVIEW MIRROR TO SEE WHERE WE HAVE BEEN AND TO HELP MAKE THE NECESSARY COURSE CORRECTIONS ALONG THE WAY.

THAT IS HOW YOUR CITY IS GOING TO BE GOVERNED FOR THE NEXT 4 YEARS.

THANK YOU