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

Friday, 14 November 2014

ELECTION DAY LOOMING - FINAL THOUGHTS

Saturday , November 15 is of course the last opportunity to vote municipally for 4 years.

It is really important to consider the total package - Mayor AND Council - in your voting. Together they make a team , and there has to be a willingness on the part of all to work together for the betterment of the City. That does not mean they have to always agree, however, the energy must be directed towards achieving common goals, not towards trying to make the other person look bad, or wishing they had never been elected in the first place. It should be a group that focusses on positives, not on whether they "got their way" , or won a particular vote.

So when you make your decision on who to vote for  (if you haven't already) please keep those thoughts in mind.

Some other things to consider:
  - Is this likely the best job the candidate has ever had? The Council acts as the Board of Directors of a multi-million dollar corporation - the members and their abilities and experience should reflect that.
  - Does the candidate have some evidence of community involvement? Being a member of Council is probably the ultimate community service , but you should have "apprenticed" a bit before you become a "community leader".
  - Does the candidate have a real desire to contribute, or is he there "just to fix things"? A single-issue candidate is not what you want to elect. Four years is a long time, and being on Council is an incredibly diverse experience. Once you "fix" your issue , what are you going to do for the remaining 3 1/2 years or whatever?

Those were just some thoughts for your consideration. The main message is really to ensure you get out to vote - do not be complacent, and assume nothing. Your vote counts !

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

OFFICIAL COMMUNITY PLAN

One of the issues in the election is turning out to be the Official Community Plan( OCP ). Unfortunately, there is a huge misunderstanding on the part of some people just what the OCP is, and what its purpose is.

The Local Government Act states an OCP "is a statement of objectives and policies on planning and land use..."

A local government MAY adopt one or more OCP's. The OCP is a guideline, and must include the approximate location, amount, type , and density of residential development to meet anticipated housing needs over a period of at least 5 years as well as the approximate location, amount and type of proposed commercial development land uses

 In our case, the OCP needs some tweaking, but not a wholesale rewrite.

The area that has to be given priority is the Everall Neighbourhood, which is defined as the area north of Thrift between Martin and Oxford. This area is replete with 1970's era wood frame apartment buildings. A significant number of these buildings are owned by single entity owners and are all rentals. This makes them likely candidates for speculators to buy, in the hopes of being able to redevelop them as condos. The speculation is fueled by the recent "spot" OCP and rezoning to allow the Cressey 12 storey project on Vidal, and further exacerbated by the proposal that has been received for the EPCOR site on Oxford. The latter has been put on hold because of the need to undertake a comprehensive OCP review before we even consider it.

No more "spot" OCP amendments!  

So , this upcoming OCP review of the Everall Neighbourhood has already been given to staff, and is now awaiting the election to conclude before it gets underway. Some things to consider through the process include:  how many people do we want to be in the neighbourhood; what density do we want to see; what height of building do you want to see; how are we going to deal with the displacement of the rental housing stock that could result; and how are we going to preserve the trees that are there?   

A final word on Monster Homes .

This is a phenomenon that has to be dealt with by an amendment to the Zoning Bylaws. However, the amendment has to be done with substantial thought and balance. It is not enough to simply say, no more large houses. To do so would devalue peoples' properties unnecessarily. Since generally, our homes are our largest single investment , a knee-jerk amendment could cost people tens, if not hundreds of thousands in terms of value. It is an  amendment that has to be handled sensitively and collaboratively - more like a surgeon's scalpel than a sledge hammer. This is work that has to be started immediately        


       

Thursday, 6 November 2014

MUD SLINGING

IN A MOMENT OF ANGER AND OUTRAGE OVER WHAT I PERCEIVED TO BE  OUTRIGHT MISREPRESENTATION OF MY OPPONENT'S CREDENTIALS  I POSTED A LINK TO A CBC INTERVIEW WITH MY OPPONENT.
THAT WAS A MISTAKE AND I SHOULD NOT HAVE GONE THERE.
I AM RUNNING MY CAMPAIGN AND HE IS RUNNING HIS.  I HAVE NO WISH TO GET DOWN IN THE MUD AND THROW IT AROUND.  WHEN YOU DO THAT YOU ONLY SUCCEED IN GETTING YOUR OWN HANDS DIRTY.
IT IS UNFORTUNATE THAT IT HAPPENED. I WILL NOT GO THERE. I HAD ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE INFORMATION GOING TO THE CBC, AND DO NOT WISH TO PURSUE THE MATTER FURTHER.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND UNDERSTANDING.