With cries of "shame" echoing throughout the council chamber, White Rock city council voted Monday to give final approval to a controversial development at the former site of the White Rock Mufflers shop.
Located at the corner of Marine Drive and Oxford Street, the development will see a total of 60 residential units built, as well as 116 parking spaces, and some commercial-use units spread among three buildings.
The decision was made after much back and forth between council members, during which some argued there were too many unknowns to move forward.
"I'm going to challenge the elevations we've been given," said Coun. Alan Campbell, referring to measurements of the Whitby's Coffee building next door. "I took it upon myself to have it surveyed and if option one is 47.25 feet, that's going to be 7 feet on top of the Whitby building."
Campbell noted that the measurements that city staff were working with were in dispute with his own surveyed, and requested to go back for more information.
"I think we should be saying to the developer, 'Take the whole thing back and try to come back,'" he said.
Coun. Helen Fathers agreed.
"The most diligent thing is to go with option four and defer (the decision)," said Fathers when it came time for council to vote. "We need to send it back, I wouldn't be happy on voting any other option given that the public deserves more time to consider this."
However, other members of council, including Mayor Wayne Baldwin, believed the proposal had met all the prerequisites and was ready to be finalized.
"Generally, when you're rezoning, you rezone to what the dimensions are that were allowable within the zone, irrelevant with how they stand next door," he said. "If you're basing your decisions on what's next door you're not paying attention to the zoning bylaw."
Baldwin then went on to comment on a number of issues raised about the proposal during the public consultation process over the past few weeks, including claims that council was not following the Official Community Plan (OCP) and the perceived lack of transparency.
"The OCP was not deviated from...people are confusing the OCP with zoning bylaws," said Baldwin. "As for the lack of transparency, I absolutely reject that notion. It is precisely because there is full transparency and disclosure that we've gone through this process in demanding a site-specific bylaw. Moreover, I take great exception that staff and council acted with anything but complete integrity throughout this process."
To that, audience members, including former councillor Margaret Woods, suggested the mayor was out of order.
Coun. Larry Robinson said he would not be supporting the movement to defer and had some words for those in attendance who were openly commenting about council.
"If you expect us to act responsibly, I suggest you act the same," said Robinson.
Finally, after the motion to defer the development was defeated, a vote to approve the project was held, passing four to three, with Mayor Baldwin and councillors Bill Lawrence, Grant Meyer and Robinson voting in favour and Fathers, Campbell and Louise Hutchinson against.