it’s all Bosa’s fault

While walking to the grocery store today, I was asked for change by 2 people. I’m normally only approached by no more than one panhandler… That’s 200% of the usual number!

I was warned by the citizens of White Rock that, if tall buildings are built, they would act as a beacon to all the homeless people in the region. Clearly the trend shows that the new buildings are already attracting more and more homeless people to White Rock.

This got me thinking… Have any of their other dire prophecies come true?

Here are ways Bosa’s development has led to the ruination of White Rock…

  • loss of one low rent home
  • loss of a large surface parking lot
  • loss of the Town Centre Hall
  • clearcutting of street trees
  • loss of a tree in Bryant Park
  • loss of familiar red brick sidewalk
  • loss of access to the mid-block crosswalk for a few months
  • loss of a familiar stripmall
  • loss of expensive streetlamps

Many people have explained that this has resulted in…

  • poor people being pushed out of White Rock
  • paradise paved to the detriment of the ecosystem
  • seniors activities forced out of the town centre
  • fewer trees
  • desecration of rare, valuable parkland
  • walking routes that are difficult for people with mobility challenges
  • a change in character bringing the West End of Vancouver to White Rock
  • a crime spree invited by dark streets

The problem with those conclusions is that the following facts must be ignored…

  • The taxes that the new homes contribute is dramatically more than what was previously collected but they use City resources much more efficiently than most White Rock homes — they give more but use less.
  • There is now less asphalt and concrete on the property than there was before — there is a greater proportion of permeable surfaces — which is good for the storm water system and for water quality in the bay.
  • The Town Centre Hall has been replaced by the new Community Centre which can accommodate a much greater range and number of activities.
  • The previous street trees were replaced with a variety that will be healthier as they are better suited to the growing conditions.
  • More trees will be planted in Bryant Park and the park area is actually larger than it was previously.
  • The new sidewalk is wider and flat — free of lifts from tree roots — which makes it safer and more convenient for people with mobility challenges.
  • The new crosswalk is more narrow and designed to make pedestrians more visible to approaching drivers.
  • Aside from the height of the buildings, there are few characteristics that would typify the development as being from the West End — there is much more to the character of White Rock than height of its buildings.
  • The police noted that there were robberies in other areas of the city at the same time, and there is an operating street light directly in front of the business that claimed it was a victim because of darkness, therefore, the logic fails — there has been no increase in crime due to the development.

In the heat of passion, rhetoric is far more potent than logic. Powerful passion is invoked by fear, and fear is often triggered by change or anticipated change.

Anyone not reacting emotionally to the dramatic visual change can see clearly that the community is already benefiting from great improvements as a result of this development project.

7 Responses to “it’s all Bosa’s fault”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Visit Lisa

    I traveled into van today, snow geese in the fields, eagles gliding on air currents above, herons hunting for bugs, fog blanketing Crescent Beach across the water, sun shining. While at the Chinatown branch doing paperwork, the bank rep read my address off my id and asked if I still lived in White Rock to which I responded yes. She said “it’s like vacation living in White Rock isn’t it”? I thought for a moment, smiled and said yes, realizing I’d never heard anyone describe White Rock that way before and it felt so good to hear someone compliment the community with such beautiful words, instead of the reading and hearing the never-ending negativity towards this community from the vocal minority within the community who refuse change.

    Going away for even a moment, reminds one to appreciate what is. It’s not the height of a building which makes a community feel like vacation, it’s the people who create the feeling of permanent vacation at home.

    I tried on the shoes of a new resident, who’s moving the miramar village this month and thought for a minute. What are these new members of our community experiencing from other residents they meet for the first time, the vocal minority who are still negatively vocal regarding their new home? Will this community be like “living in vacation”-relaxed and welcoming for our new friends or will the ongoing hate debate tarnish their vacation and encourage these new friends to tell everyone they know of their horrible vacation experience?

    To the people who are still negatively vocal regarding Miramar Village – the buildings are built – they are not tall – look up for a change and you can see eagles, geese, and sunshine, instead of looking down on everything – move on – get out of white rock for a day and learn to appreciate what we have, and how to share it with those who WANT to be a part of this community – there’s room in this community for new residents. Create community values of inclusion.

  2. Elizabeth King Says:

    Visit Elizabeth King

    Thanks Lisa and Matt for your thoughtful insight. I think the many changes that have occured over the years in White Rock are dynamic and well-managed. Hopefully, the new residents of White Rock,or at least the new homeowners are unaware of the discontent and just focused on enjoying their surroundings. I wonder how many of the people complaining have considered the younger generation and their good start in life. At one time all the subdivisions and homes perched on the hill above the water were newcomers. In fact when you consider the periodic flooding that occurs by the beach, perhaps these homes are a significant hardship on the environment.

  3. Pauline Mott Says:

    Visit Pauline Mott

    The sad fact is that the Bosa buildings-or as I prefer to call them -the Dark Towers- have been a spectacular failure. At the moment there are 18 occupied suites in one tower and 13 in the other. Not quite the numbers needed to sustain that urban village feeling. Craig’s list is loaded with rental ads for the suites – so much for that exclusivity trumpeted in the Bosa ad campaigns.With the majority of apartments owned by real estate ‘flippers’ who knows how much property tax revenue will remain uncollected as they become increasingly indebted due to their unwise investments. Meanwhile the little mall that was the main destination for the pedestrians of White Rock will further decay as Buy Low closes its doors in the not too distant future – mortally wounded by the ,as it turns out unnecessary, departure of the liquor store. So we will be not a town but a suburb, with no liquor store , no grocery store , no commercial centre. What was once a thriving city centre will be a sad, abandoned site, yes Todd, the kind of place where crime happens. I cannot think, Matt, that you think that the present state of the area is an improvement over the old. A half abandoned mall where once the parking lot was jammed ,a row of empty stores where once was a thriving street of small businesses – Christophers,the bicycle store, the paint store, the chinese restaurant,the jewelry store, the clothing store,the hairdresser. Much better to have empty store fronts than thriving merchants serving the needs of the local residents. Local residents are so downmarket, don’t you know,doddering pensioners who hold up traffic and look so depressing with their walkers. What White Rock needs is an influx of healthy, vibrant people, the ones you see in the real estate ads, living life to the fullest in their urban paradises. Too late to discover that what most of us residents were trying to tell you is true. We are not urban, we are not upmarket, we are too far away from Vancouver to attract the urban demographic. Bosa now knows. That is why they have pulled out from developing another urban village at Semiahmoo Mall. That is why the next phase of the Miramar will never be built.

  4. Matt Todd Says:

    Visit Matt Todd

    So, let’s see if I’ve understood you correctly. You think that 31 occupied suites is not better than the previous single suite, and you think a strip mall is a desirable pedestrian destination? You also apparently seem to believe that the real estate market in White Rock is somehow not related to the current conditions in the rest of the region, country, continent, world. Is the occupancy rate in Miramar Village a sign that it is a product nobody wants, or is it simply caught in the same malaise as every other home on the market right now?

    Your memory seems quite selective. However, there have been inventories done over the past 20 years that have tracked the slow decline of the town centre. Empty storefronts are not new to White Rock. In fact, during the construction of Miramar Village, there was a couple years when almost all storefronts were full as displaced businesses filled the previously empty spaces. Unfortunately, things are now returning to the way it was before. White Rock has never not been in a state of change. This community has been evolving continuously for the past 100 years, often at a rapid pace – with one corner or another growing, shrinking, building, decaying – what hasn’t changed is that it keeps changing. It is simply not reasonable to say that White Rock, at any point in time, has reached perfection and should stop changing, or should revert to a previous state of perfection. That’s delusional.

    I don’t believe that having one less liquor store within its arbitrary municipal boundaries in any way makes White Rock more or less of a suburb. Reality is, it has been for 30 years. I’m not sorry I’ve ruined your utopia of a liquor store in a crowded strip mall parking lot. Yes, I do believe the town centre is better off now than it was before. It is safer, cleaner, has more trees, more space for people, and a better community centre.

    Pauline, what is truly holding this community from being a great place is the grand delusion that White Rock can live up to the memories of a yesteryear that never was. Cynicism does not make a great community.

  5. Pauline Mott Says:

    Visit Pauline Mott

    Matt, let me get this straight. To you the town centre right now which comprises of an almost empty parking lot in an almost abandoned mall is more attractive that a jam-packed parking lot and a bustling almost fully occupied mall that offers all the important commercial amenities necessary for the local residents. A town by definition is a place of commerce and a town centre is the hub of this commercial activity. By years end the centre may be almost completely empty, no more cars in the parking lot , no more pedestrians. With further construction unlikely to happen in the next decade what will happen to the mall? It will either become a hangout for delinquents or become a hole in the ground.
    This could actually be a great boost for White rock’s tourism business. we could become a world leader in hoardings art. With so many empty lots Eliabeth Hollick and friends could lead the way in painting fences. If Chemanius can have murals why can’t White Rock have fence art on every corner. Todd, you could be the curator and tour guide. But to be serious, I am not holding on to any memories of yesteryear. I am however holding on to memories of why I moved to White Rock 4 years ago after 30 years living just beyond it’s boundaries. It was the ability to walk to the library, the dentist, the hairdresser, the grocery store and to feel that I was part of a busy, people serving community. Yes, there is plenty of space for people now,but Todd, people go to places for a reason. They don’t just think why look at all that empty space why don’t I wander around it for a while.
    Todd, I grew up in one of Europe’s oldest and greatest cities, I have visited hundreds of towns and villages in europe and have traveled by road in Canada from BC to PEI and north to the Arctic Circle. I know what a town is, I know what a community is. So get on your bike and go get a real education by visiting the reality of the world instead of studying the theory of it. Then you may one day be worthy of serving your community.

  6. Matt Todd Says:

    Visit Matt Todd

    Construction is awkward. Nobody said it wouldn’t be. It is a time of transition. Thankfully we haven’t ended up with more boarded up empty lots and gravel pits like much of the town centre. One less strip mall is a good start.

    Whether you think my contribution has been worthy or not, I’ve been serving my community since I was 17 years old – that’s half my lifetime. My achievements have helped make this a greater place. To dispute that simply because I don’t believe tall buildings are the gateway to hell says far more about your capacity for critical thinking than my worthiness to contribute to my community.

    I clearly haven’t travelled the world enough to be as condescending as you, but I have walked the streets of European, Japanese and North American cities. This much I do know, to make great and safe community, people need to trust and respect one another. How does dismissing my opinions and my experience demonstrate respect for your neighbours and fellow citizens?

    This city’s boundaries are arbitrary. The White Rock community does not cease to exist as one steps across the centre line of North Bluff Road. It is still a busy, people serving community. One small corner of it just looks different now.

    The town centre was and is more than that one small strip mall. All those services you’ve described are still available within the town centre of White Rock. If that one dumpy strip mall truly were the commercial core and social lifeblood of this community, then there are much greater problems than I have suggested and the need for redevelopment is even greater.

    Empty storefronts in the town centre is not a new problem to White Rock. But a full parking lot is not a sign of a healthy pedestrian oriented commercial core. I say that as a lifetime White Rock resident who has travelled countless towns across Europe and North America. I say so from my own empirical observations as well as my academic studies.

  7. Citizen Says:

    Visit Citizen

    Where’s the businesses that are supposed to be renting these newly developed commercial spaces? The towers are half empty and the only people who live there are mostly prude. I’ve been a White Rocker for over 15 years and it’s not the people that make it a “vacation” spot, it’s the lack of places to go and do things. It’s almost a ghost town after 8 (except for the bars and nearby liquor stores). There’s no real successful business opportunities in these towers. I don’t know for sure but I would bet that leasing an empty space here could cost an arm and a leg in a place where people don’t really spend their money.

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