Tracy Holmes photo Aerial photo of the site – currently used as a parking lot to raise funds for Rotary – that the City of White Rock has announced it will expropriate for a ‘Town Square’.

City to expropriate site for ‘Town Square’

Process underway to expropriate site of former uptown gas station owned by Imperial Oil

The City of White Rock started proceedings Tuesday morning to expropriate land in the town centre to create a ‘Town Square’ park.

The decision to acquire the 1510 Johnston Rd. property – owned by Imperial Oil – was approved by council during a closed meeting on Monday afternoon and announced by Mayor Wayne Baldwin during Monday’s night’s regular council meeting.

The property, at the northeast corner of Russell Avenue and Johnston Road – south of the Coast Capital Playhouse – is the site of a former gas station, but has been vacant for more than 20 years.

It has been used as a pay-parking lot to raise funds for local Rotary Club projects for over a decade.

While a purchase price is yet to be determined, Baldwin said that “no money from taxes will be put in there.”

“The costs will be covered by DCCs (development cost charges), land sale revenues and CACs (community amenity contributions) paid by developers,” he said.

He noted the expropriation of the land for a park purpose is consistent with the city’s Town Centre Urban Design Plan created in 2011.

A press release issued shortly after the announcement states the expropriation is also “in alignment with policies in the City’s Official Community Plan (OCP) that call for the creation of a Town Square at Johnston Road and Russell Avenue.”

Baldwin said the acquisition “is an investment which will benefit generations to come.”

“This is the first step towards providing White Rock with a publicly-owned, pedestrian-friendly Town Square in the Town Centre,” Baldwin said in the release.

The square, once complete, is to include an “accessible and level ‘programmable’ area” with tables and chairs, shade trees and “other pedestrian-friendly features.”

The release said the area would include public art and be a venue for special events “celebrating White Rock’s vibrant arts and culture.”

The lot, originally enclosed by a solid wood fence after demolition of the gas station, became a venue for an adhoc group of artists who painted an ever-changing mural on the fence for a period of 10 years, assisted by contributions from local merchants.

The lot is the same area where drilling work in January frustrated merchants.

At that time, an Imperial Oil spokesperson confirmed the work was “to collect additional environmental data associated with a former service station.”

The release said that while the purchase price hadn’t yet been arrived at, the city would provide “updates as this process progresses.”

– with files from Tracy Holmes

Just Posted

ELECTION QUESTIONS: How do candidates form their opinions on transit in Surrey?

Who is on the right side of Surrey’s transit debate? That’s for voters to decide come Oct. 20.

Surrey wants BNSF to slow Crescent trains

Mayor Linda Hepner said ‘it’s the least we can do’

Rail-safety forum planned for White Rock this Friday

Event to include municipal, federal, provincial governments

White Rock open house to discuss city’s aquifer protection plan

Examination of potential hazards includes increased population, climate change

‘Connecting Threads’ and more in Surrey Art Gallery’s fall shows

Free admission at opening reception and panel discussion Sunday afternoon

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

NDP tax increases adding up for B.C. residents: study

Carole James says Fraser Institute analysis ignores tax relief

‘Sesame Street’ wants to clarify: Bert and Ernie aren’t gay

The characters are best friends and have many human traits but “remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation”

Province announces 74 new French teaching spots at SFU, UBC

Needed to fill demand for increasingly popular French immersion programs in B.C.

B.C. Rural Party co-founder rebukes pro-NDP accusation

Telkwa Mayor Darcy Repen disputes being NDP campaign supporter

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

Most Read