A funicular in Ketchikan, Alaska. The idea of a funicular, floated as a possibility for White Rock, has achieved some traction in public engagement on possible uses for CAC funds. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

A funicular in Ketchikan, Alaska. The idea of a funicular, floated as a possibility for White Rock, has achieved some traction in public engagement on possible uses for CAC funds. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

City of White Rock ponders feedback on CAC funds

Some $13 million will come to the city as a result of ongoing developments

White Rock council has received a copious amount of feedback from residents in the quest to find the best uses for some $13 million in Community Amenity Contributions from ongoing development in the city.

Preferred uses, according to a staff report on public engagement to date, range from building a Centre Street walkway and a hillside funicular railway to investments that would boost arts and cultural activities and “social supports” such as affordable housing and child care.

But planning and development services director Carl Isaak admitted – in presenting the report at the regular council meeting on March 30 – that it’s a topic that “has been somewhat eclipsed in terms of importance” by the current COVID-19 crisis.

“But we didn’t want this data to be stale when it did come to you,” he said.

Council endorsed a motion from Coun. Anthony Manning that staff continue to research the issue and continue in-depth discussion with council – including a separate workshop on the matter – nonetheless.

The city conducted a community forum (information meeting and workshop on Jan. 20) and two pop-up events (Feb. 4 and Feb. 9).

READ ALSO: White Rock continues to pose $13 million question

“We would not be able to be conducting that kind of engagement under the current circumstances,” Isaak observed.

An online survey gleaned 523 responses (from Jan. 20 to Feb. 18) and council was presented with 20 pages of verbatim comments from the survey as part of the report.

Also noted was a post on the city’s Facebook page which logged more than 274 reactions, comments and shares.

The top-five possibilities – according to a summary of ‘sticky note’ suggestions logged at the commmunity forum and pop-up engagements – were (in order of preference) a Centre Street walkway, a funicular, affordable housing, enhancements to the pier and waterfront parks.

Of online survey respondents, 64 per cent favoured parks and recreation uses, 30 per cent preferred social support amenities and 22 per cent advocated for increased mobility.

Some 19 per cent advocated for arts and cultural uses, while 12 per cent were in favour of more civic facilities.

Isaak said there was some skew to these responses, with a higher proportion of seniors at in-person public events and a higher representation of youth in online engagement.

“There’s a different emphasis based on the kind of engagement that was done,” he said.

“Staff’s intention was not to determine how much council spends, because obviously there’s a different price tag associated with a funicular than there is with public art,” he added.

READ ALSO: White Rock focusing on affordable housing needs

“Things like public art are more a regularly occurring thing – you could set a certain amount for a number of years (while) a number of projects, such as purchase of land for affordable housing is more a one-time thing, with additional ongoing expenses if we are actually operating affordable housing.”

Coun. Helen Fathers wanted to know the ‘touch rate’ – means of determining the quantity of engagement among city residents – on the events and surveys conducted so far.

“How many people were able to touch this, by the means we afforded them?” she asked, noting that the survey response was small in comparison to a population of some 20,000 residents in the city.

“We do have thousands of touch points,” communications manager Donna Kell told council, adding that Facebook and Twitter response was very positive.

“I think we did have a very robust engagement in that short period of time.”

“This is a very good start to rolling forward those important decisions that you’ll want to make in the future.”

Manning also noted Isaak’s comments that engagement has been steadily increasing in recent years.

“Incremental will get us to where we want to go,” he said.

The city currently has approximately $9 million of CACs that are not allocated to a project, and an additional $4 million is expected to be received in 2021.

Generally, amenity contributions have to be used for the capital costs of new assets to offset the impact of new development, but can’t be tabbed for operating funds, to repair and maintain existing assets, or to subsidize city fees or taxes.



alex.browne@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

White Rock

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

Just Posted

Longtime basketball coach Allison McNeill is worried that the COVID-19 pandemic will adversely affect high-school athletes with university athletic aspirations. (Garrett James/Langley Events Centre photo)
COVID-19: Young athletes scrambling for scholarships, opportunities amid pandemic

‘They lost their whole Grade 12 year’ says Semiahmoo basketball coach Allison McNeill

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
White Rock woman among dozens in Lower Mainland to benefit from Elder Dog program

Dog-care organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but requires more clients to serve

South Surrey’s Historic Stewart Farm. (City of Surrey photo)
City receives $400K grant to build Indigenous Carving Centre in South Surrey

Construction of showcase venue to be completed mid-2022

Travis Selje with Rex, the family dog he got to enjoy for the final six months of his life. (Submitted photo)
Defence says evidence ‘compelling, overwhelming’ to acquit Surrey woman in deadly crash

Epileptic seizure caused fatal crash that killed Travis Selje, lawyer argues in final submissions

TEASER
WATCH: Surrey-made anti-bullying video urges youth to #BlockEmDontShareEm

“Break the chain by deleting the image and never forwarding – not even to a best friend’

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

A woman boards a transit bus through rear doors, in Vancouver, on Friday, March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
TransLink slow to reveal crucial details about ransomware attack, says union

Union says company took months to admit what info was stolen, including SIN and bank account details

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

Most Read