WHITE ROCK â€” After much public debate and division in the community, White Rock council has approved the expansion of the Evergreen Baptist Campus of Care.
In a four to two vote Monday night, council approved the 199-bed project, with councillors Helen Fathers and Alan Campbell both against. Coun. Larry Robinson was absent from the meeting and did not vote.
The expansion will see an additional 92 beds added to the current 107 and a new building will be constructed in the parking lot of the current site, located at 16th Ave. and Oxford St. Once that building is completed, patients from the current B and C wings will be transferred over and those wings will be demolished.
Evergreen was awarded the contract for the new care beds by Fraser Health last year and the proposed facility was the focus of a lengthy public hearing that spanned two nights earlier this month, which drew more than 100 speakers.
While many welcomed the addition of the beds to the community, those against argued that the beds are not specifically South Surrey or White Rock beds.
â€œThis is counter to the interests of the city and community and the vast majority that will fill the rooms will not come from White Rock,â€ said resident Barry Miller during the public hearing.
Others against the project were primarily residents of a neighbouring condo complex whose views and property values are expected to be impacted by the new building.
However, those in favour said the beds were much-needed in the aging community and the needs of the few should not outweigh the needs of the many.
â€œClose to three out of every 10 Canadians is a baby boomer, do we have enough beds now? No. Is there a waiting list? Yes. We need more beds, and we have to do something now not later,â€ said South Surreyâ€™s Dawn Turner during the public hearing.
In explaining his opposition to the project, Coun. Alan Campbell said inconsistencies with the plans and the seeming inability of Fraser Health and Evergreen to compromise on the impact to local residents was not fair to residents of White Rock.
â€œItâ€™s funny how Metro Vancouver decrees, Fraser Health decrees and we all have to say â€˜Yes, okay,â€™â€ said Campbell. â€œI donâ€™t think any new development and something as valuable as this should be to the detriment of existing buildings or citizens that have looked after this city.â€
Campbell said he would have supported the project if it replaced the current B and C wings with the new building, but that was deemed impossible by Fraser Health and Evergreen as it would have meant the moving of current occupants during the construction phase.
As such, Campbell said the proposal seemed rushed and said, â€œThereâ€™s always another way.
â€œFraser health put this out many months ago and no time did they stop and look at it. They just ran down to city hall and asked if this was going to fly. I may be alone here tonight, but I donâ€™t like the situation and the way it came to us.
â€œI donâ€™t deny weâ€™d love to have beds and maybe Iâ€™ll be looking to put my name down in the future, but it has to be the right thing for the city and right thing for the citizens.â€