Question & Answer Period

Question and Answer (QA) period is an opportunity for the public to ask Council questions or provide comments and receive answers or responses (if available) at Regular Council meetings.

If you are unable to attend in-person, submit your question by email to clerksoffice@whiterockcity.ca with "QA period" in the subject line before 8:30 a.m. on the Wednesday prior to the Regular Council meeting. Questions and/or comments are noted in the Regular Council agenda and if a question/ comment is received after this deadline but before noon on the day of the Regular Council meeting, it will be provided 'on-table' to Council at the meeting.

There may be instances where the City is unable to provide an answer or response at a Regular Council meeting; however, questions and comments will be forwarded to staff and the response will be updated in this table when available.

Review Council and Committee Procedure Bylaw, No. 2393, which provides the rules of procedure for Council and Committee Meetings. 

If there are any questions, please contact Corporate Administration at clerksoffice@whiterockcity.ca or 604-541-2278.

Questions and Answers (Regular Council)

  1. 2023
DateQuestionAnswer/Response
2023-01-30Council was asked to consider negotiating a master contract with a private waste company to assist those living in multi-family dwellings.Council provided direction at the January 16 Council meeting to remain with the status quo for garbage pickup, whereby multi-family and commercial solid waste collection is privately managed.  Based on the RFP response multi-family buildings would pay equal or possibly more if the city were to take this on as a city-managed service.
2023-01-30Concern was noted over permit issuance backlogs and what can be done to expedite the process.

Staff noted that within the 2023 budget there is a request to hire two (2) new positions within the Development Services Department which would expedite the current process. Hiring for these positions cannot be done until after the 2023 budget is approved by Council (the deadline to approve the budget is May 15, 2023; however, this could happen sooner).

Later in the evening Council endorsed a resolution to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to hire temporary contracted Building Official services to assist staff with building permit application reviews in all application streams in order to reduce current building permit backlog.

2023-01-16A request was made for the City to change back to a city managed garbage pick-up program for all White Rock residents.
A corporate report on this topic was discussed later in the meeting. Report and meeting video can be accessed here
2023-01-16What is the City's planning process in order to address inflation and growth?Staff will be bringing the budget forward in February. The City has five (5) year plans but will be looking further than this to balance the needs of community with the needs of the infrastructure in White Rock.
  1. 2022
DateQuestionAnswer/Response
2022-12-05
Can the City look into adding safety features ("stop ahead" markings on the pavement) at the intersection at Fir Street and Columbia Avenue.
Yes, we will look into what measures could be used to address East/West Columbia Avenue traffic failing to stop at the stop signs on Columbia at Victoria. Potential unintended consequences will be factored into consideration of any potential solution such as the painting of “Stop Ahead” lines on the pavement. View full answer.
2022-12-05
Will the Council Voting Dashboard on the City website continue to be updated with the new Council?
Yes. Staff are working to change over the page to the new Council for the 2022-2026 term. It is anticipated this will be up to date and on the website in time for the new year.
2022-12-05
Appreciation was noted for the City's Warming Centre, and it was asked if the City could have the centre open daily (rather than being open only during cold temperatures) from now until March 2023.
Staff brought forward a corporate report on this topic later in the Council meeting.

Council directed staff to have the warming centre run daily through to
March 31, 2023 regardless of the temperature.

2022-11-21
Questions on Remembrance Day ceremony and the eternal flame not being lit for this service. Noted is something that should be lit 24/7 but if not feasible then certainly for Remembrance Day.
It was noted that the flames were intended to be lit on Remembrance Day. Staff worked to do this on the day but were unable to. The CAO will look into this further and review with staff.
2022-07-25
Appreciation was noted to Council and staff for their assistance and support throughout White Rock Pride Week. Dates were suggested for Pride Week for 2023: July 22 to July 29.
Comments only, no response provided.
2022-07-25
Question was asked on outstanding landscaping work to be done at Maccaud Park and when it is expected that the park will be re-opened.
Landscaping crews are scheduled to be working at the waterfront this week in preparation for the Sea Festival.  Staff are aware of the work to be done on the west side of Maccaud Park (cutting of long grass, blackberries) and will perform that work when they are able.

Currently the contractor fence is around the park as additional landscaping needs to be implemented. This is expected to take place when the weather is more favorable for planting.
2022-07-25
Questions were asked on the health of several trees along the promenade and an RFP that was issued to supply power to these trees. A request was made to postpone the RFP until the trees can be properly assessed by an arborist.
Staff is aware of the condition of the trees at the Promenade. The plan for the RFP is for crews to dig under the pavers to ensure there is minimal root damage. An arborist will be on site to ensure that the roots are not damaged.
2022-07-25
Will the warming Shelter be continuing in 2023?
The City is working to have the warming shelter up and running again in winter, 2022/ 2023.  It was further noted that with the heat wave this week cooling shelters are also being activated in the city.
2022-07-25
Would City Council please ask City Staff to provide a report for this council in September that provides an analysis of the impact on economic development derived by our community from the funds spent on Exhibition and Decorative lighting since 2018? The report could review the corporate report provided in October of 2019 which initially recommended approval of the original White Rock Festival of Lights. In addition, the report could outline ways to build momentum in the coming years that will leverage the power of Exhibition and Decorative Lighting as a powerful economic development driver for our community. (View full question(s).).
Answer provided by CAO (view video).
2022-07-11
How many replacement trees will be planted following the work done at Maccaud Park?
Replacement Trees planted would be in accordance with the City's Tree Protection Bylaw. A total of 12 trees were removed from Maccaud Park. These trees were either dead, close to dead or potentially hazardous. As such, these trees are classified under a Type 1 Tree Management Permit, in which case there are no replacement trees required for the removal of these trees.  
2022-07-11
Question on maintenance and landscaping for the areas surrounding Maccaud Park.  Several areas are overgrown which makes it difficult for people to adequately use the path in certain areas, and also could pose as a safety concern as we move into fire season.
Staff confirmed that the City's Park Manager has scheduled a crew to go to this area to address these concerns later this week.
2022-07-11
I note with considerable interest that the 2021 Annual draft Report is now available.

The City website states that "public review and comment" is invited at the July 25 City Council meeting. How is relevant and credible pubic comment possible if the public does not have access to all the details associated with the year end financial statements.

These details are normally provided through the SOFI (Statement of Financial Information) report which, according to the answer to my question of June 27, will not be available until September?
Staff confirmed both reports will be included on the July 25, 2021 Regular Council meeting agenda and at the same meeting is when public comments will be received on these topics.
2022-07-11
I am curious to know why there will not be any fireworks on Canada Day? No reasonable reason has been given.
The City’s 2022 operating budget (which included the funding for Canada Day expenses) was approved in late May 2022. The City’s special event team have been unable to secure a pyrotechnical contractor to provide a fireworks display for Canada Day at the Bay this year due to supply chain shortages. There will be a fireworks show at the White Rock Sea Festival/ Semiahmoo Days, which will be held July 30, 2022 at 10 p.m.
2022-06-27
An update on the White Rock Pride Society was provided. Requests were made for Council and staff support for the promotion and policing of events taking place during White Rock Pride Week (July 15 - 23).
Staff will work on this request. Council will be participating in events during White Rock Pride Week.
2022-06-27Property Tax increases were noted with this past year being significantly higher than previous. The City's Surplus and Reserve funds have a large amount of money - Why are the property taxes increasing when there are large sums in both of these accounts?The annual surplus reported for 2021 on the Statement of Operations of $11.2M and is lower than the budgeted surplus of $22.8M and is largely made up of budgeted revenues and expenses that did not materialize in 2021 due to COVID and staffing shortages.  A large portion of both the revenue and expense variances relate to asset improvement projects not started or finished, a component of which is amortization (the expense portion).  These projects have been carried over to 2022 and future years in the 2022 financial plan.

With respect to why a tax increase was needed, property tax rates are determined based on a number of factors, one of which is ensuring that the tax collected, together with the other revenues received, will cover the City's anticipated expenses for the upcoming year and provide for a surplus in order to maintain and replace the City's infrastructure.  It is not always evident on the tax statements, but it is helpful to note that although the annual taxes assessed are collected by the City, the collected amounts also include taxes assessed by other agencies that do not remain in City coffers, for example school taxes - meaning that not all of the tax revenue collected is available to fund City operations.

For 2022 the City budget package was prepared in accordance with GFOABC standards and was endorsed unanimously  by Council on November 22nd 2021.  An operating surplus is necessary in order to fund City infrastructure items (capital assets with a life span of more than a year such as fire trucks, bridges, roads, etc.,).  These capital items flow through the accumulated surplus on the Statement of Financial Information, as opposed to expenses which have a life span of less than a year and flow through the Statement of Operations.

When looking at Note 10 of the financial statements, entitled Accumulated surplus (page 30 of 70), you will note that the majority of the accumulated surplus is made up of tangible capital assets.  As capital assets, those 'funds' are not available to pay for expenses (which is why the City needs to collect revenue).  This is similar to the analogy of owning a house - while your house may be worth $100,000 (your net worth, or accumulated surplus) the only way to actually get access to those funds would be to sell your house, in the City's case, to sell its infrastructure that the residents rely on.

The majority of the balance of the Accumulated surplus amount is comprised of Reserves – amounts set aside for specific purposes.  These Reserves are by and large to fund infrastructure and capital items for City residents.  More details on the specific purposes of these Reserve funds can be found in Note 12 to the financial statements, entitled Reserves (pages 30 and 31 of 70).

For further information on the relationship between property taxes, municipal revenues, (accumulated) surplus and infrastructure, you may find these two blog posts helpful.

2022-06-27Does City Council intend to request more detailed information from City Staff so that City Council and the White Rock tax payers may review the exact expenditures associated with the 50 million dollars spent in 2021 along with detailed explanations for the almost 23 million in annual surplus (up from 11 million in 2020)?

The financial statements provided to the Finance and Audit Committee for consideration at their Jung were prepared in accordance with Section 167 of the Community Charter and in accordance with Canadian Public Sector Accounting Standards as prescribed by the Public Sector Accounting Board ("PSAB").  These are the standards for municipal government financial reporting in Canada. 

The annual surplus reported for 2021 on the Statement of Operations of $11.2M and is lower than the budgeted surplus of $22.8M.  It is a function of City revenues minus City expenses, and the variance is largely made up of budgeted revenues and expenses that did not materialize in 2021 due to COVID and staffing shortages.  A large portion of both the revenue and expense variances relate to asset improvement projects not started or finished, a component of which is amortization (the expense portion).  These projects have been carried over to 2022 and future years in the 2022 financial plan.  Note 20 of the financial statements, entitled Segmented information (page 36 of 70), provides details on the expenses included within the various categories of the financial statements. 

With respect to why a tax increase was needed, property tax rates are determined based on a number of factors, one of which is ensuring that the tax collected, together with the other revenues received, will cover the City's anticipated expenses for the upcoming year and provide for a surplus in order to maintain and replace the City's infrastructure.  It is not always evident on the tax statements, but it is helpful to note that although the annual taxes assessed are collected by the City, the collected amounts also include taxes assessed by other agencies that do not remain in City coffers, for example school taxes - meaning that not all of the tax revenue collected is available to fund City operations. 

For 2022 the City budget package was prepared in accordance with GFOABC standards and was endorsed unanimously  by Council on November 22nd 2021.  An operating surplus is necessary in order to fund City infrastructure items (capital assets with a life span of more than a year such as fire trucks, bridges, roads, etc.,).  These capital items flow through the accumulated surplus on the Statement of Financial Information, as opposed to expenses which have a life span of less than a year and flow through the Statement of Operations. 

When looking at Note 10 of the financial statements, entitled Accumulated surplus (page 30 of 70), you will note that the majority of the accumulated surplus is made up of tangible capital assets.  As capital assets, those 'funds' are not available to pay for expenses (which is why the City needs to collect revenue).  This is similar to the analogy of owning a house - while your house may be worth $100,000 (your net worth, or accumulated surplus) the only way to actually get access to those funds would be to sell your house, in the City's case, to sell its infrastructure that the residents rely on.

2022-06-13For the Affordable Housing Strategy, a request for Council to formally remove the high-rise component and to add in the possibility of having 4-6 storey condominium buildings in single-family home designated areas.Comments provided, no question asked.
2022-06-13Question and comments regarding the reasoning behind the increased budget for the Centre Street Walkway. A request was made to delay this project, to engage in public consultation and to utilize available grants for the project.Comments provided. This topic was the subject of a Corporate Report later in the meeting agenda.
2022-06-13Request from the White Rock Pickleball Association to use the remaining pickleball funds to construct a permanent divider net on the northeast pickleball court.Council supported a resolution to allocate funds towards this project to a total of $4,500.
2022-05-30Concerns were noted with the Housing Advisory Committee’s mandate and the continued discussion of the Housing Action Plan at the Committee level.Comments provided, no question asked.
2022-05-30Comments were provided regarding overgrown vegetation blocking views for residents on Marine Drive and the need to continue maintenance on the hump.Comments provided, no question asked.
2022-05-30Concerns were stated regarding the City’s Tree Protection Bylaw and Policy 611 not being followed in areas such as Ruth Johnson Park, Maccaud Park and on the ‘hump”.Staff noted in Ruth Johnston Park, in the last 6 - 9 months hazardous trees were identified and once the City is aware of this we need to take them down, this is consistent with the Tree Bylaw and Policy.
2022-05-30Accessibility concerns with sidewalk let downs and hydro/sign poles for those using them who have accessibility challenges. As June 4 is SPARC BC’s Celebrate Access Awareness Council and staff were encouraged to look into this and address these concerns.Staff noted for new construction the City uses the current Master Municipal Specs, however there are some driveways and crossings in place form previous that may be of concern. If we get specific locations of concern then staff can add them to the construction program. Further noted was the raised yellow metal pads, which were put in place 10-15 years ago for those with vision challenges. These are no longer being installed and can be reviewed. View additional information.
2022-05-30What is the City of White Rock doing to improve the delay in applications and processing times for building permits, renovations, business licenses or anything to do with opening a business in White Rock? The current wait time on such applications is beyond unreasonable compared to other cities and city staff is arguing that they are heavily understaffed and hence the backload.We have had a vacant Building official position for several months, which Council recently approved proceeding to fill in the 2022 budget. We are now trying very hard to hire for this position with an appropriately qualified individual. These positions are challenging to fill right now, given effect of the Building Act coming into force last year. As well, our Building Officials are not solely focused on plan review as our responsibilities also include providing customer service to the public at our front counter, permit application appointments, inquiries, inspections and overall management of ongoing files. As you can well imagine, no two inquiries are alike and every application and inquiry requires the appropriate care and attention. Unfortunately, we cannot control the volume of inquiries or submissions coming through our door each day.

Our inspection requests fluctuate daily, which limits our ability to respond to inquiries and other requests. Staff are working hard to balance this with the resources available to us and to provide the best customer service we can. We appreciate the patience our applicants have been giving us. Staff will continue to work through the applications we receive, as quickly as possible.
2022-05-09Questions were asked regarding the Bright Walk in White Rock and whether City staff will consider meeting to discuss the future of this event with the White Rock Lights Society.Staff noted that at this time Council has directed that this event be classified as a Class A (City Run event). Should the event be re-classified (Class B or Class C) this could then be considered, but at this time it would not be necessary.
2022-05-09With regard to the 2022-2026 Financial Plan - why funding and expenses in the line items have been changed throughout the process. Further concerns were noted regarding funds for the Tour de White Rock for 2022.  It was noted that this question has been asked previously and the answer has been provided (see answer from a similar question for the April 25, 2022 meeting).
2022-04-25Concerns were noted with the Affordable Housing Strategy Action Plan, the Official Community Plan that was brought forward by Council this term should be adhered to.Comments provided - no question asked.

2022-04-25Comments were provided on the Affordable Housing Strategy Action Plan, that it is not inclusive and affordable housing is needed in this area for seniors, those on a fixed income, people with disabilities and “the missing middle”.Comments provided - no question asked.
2022-04-25Comments were noted regarding Affordable Housing Strategy Action Plan in relation to the White Rock Tree Bylaw, concerns were noted with the potential loss of green space for the types of development suggested within the plan.Staff confirmed that the current White Rock Tree Protection Bylaw would stand unless Council provided direction otherwise.

2022-04-25Comments were noted regarding the process followed for the Housing Strategy Action Plan encouraging Council turn it down at this time.Comments provided - no question asked.
2022-04-25Questions were asked regarding the plan for Maccaud Park and concerns were raised with the lack of public feedback for the park design, tree removal, the widening of pedestrian paths in the park and the installation of picnic tables.Staff noted this project came before Council for approval. There was no formal public input into the process. View additional information.
2022-04-25Concerns were noted regarding the proposed Affordable Housing Strategy Action Plan with respect to development in the City, removing single-family zoning and waiving public hearings.Comments provided - no question asked.
2022-04-25Questions surrounding the Tour de White Rock funding noted in the 2022 Financial Plan (view full question)The net property tax required for the Tour de White Rock is $58,500 when the revenue of $ 67,600 that it generates is taken into account. As the Tour de White Rock is not being cancelled permanently and has been part of the property tax base for a number of years, the amount no longer required is lowering the funding required from reserves for 2022. This along with all other Recreation and Culture net costs that are not being incurred due to the continued COVID impacts are being funded from the COVID Safe Restart reserve.   It is not prudent to reduce taxes in one year for an event that is already funded from taxes if it is to be reinstated the following year which will then increase taxes again.

If Council directs staff to remove the Tour of White Rock from the proposed budget on a permanent basis, it will be saving of $58,500 however that is not the direction we received. I believe the rest was explained during the last Finance and Audit committee meeting. View additional Answer/ Information.
2022-04-11My neighbours and I have been wondering what progress was being made regarding the return to municipal waste and recycling collection for strata buildings. This idea was floated around in the media months ago but we have never seen anything recent on the subject.The project for the conversion of multi family and commercial solid waste pickup from private arrangements with individual contractors to a central contract(s) managed by the City is ongoing.  

Staff are reaching out to the approximately 350 commercial and strata properties to obtain existing collection details before issuing a Request for Proposals this summer. Plans are that individual properties can sign up for the City managed collection service with fees to be paid similar to existing water utility fees by January 2023. In any case properties will be charged the new collection fees starting in January 2024, so they are advised to terminate their current collection contracts before that time.
2022-03-28Questions regarding a topographic survey and city encroachments on a property on Parker Place.The resident was encouraged to take out a permit so City staff can inspect the driveway work carried out on the City right-of-way without a permit.  If the work is satisfactory, this will lead to a refund of the deposit. City staff will meet with the resident and investigate the improperly located inspection chambers and relocate them to their proper position on the city-right-of-way.
2022-03-28Question for staff to provide an update on Maccaud Park design.View the September 2021 Council Report discussing Maccaud Park improvements. Council directed staff to proceed with option 2A with a budget of $250K.

The City worked closely with TransLink to obtain approval for $187K grant funding for the project and for bike racks at Kent Street Activity Centre (KSAC). This grant is based on the multi use path (MUP) concept and will include widening the project path from 2 to 3 metres and the proximity to the proposed bike racks at KSAC.  The location close to the secondary school was a factor in the approval of this transportation grant. The widening will facilitate the joint use of the path by those utilizing differing modes of transportation including walkers, wheelchairs, scooters, cyclists and aligns with Translink and Metro mobility goals.

It is expected that a construction contract will be awarded within the next few weeks and project completion is scheduled for August 2022.
2022-03-28Question on construction parking issues from the Altus development and hospital visitors in the area.Forwarded to staff for response.
2022-03-28The recommendation from the Finance and Audit Committee regarding the Business Improvement Association (BIA) levy was discussed. A resident suggested that the City reach out to Commercial Property Owners in White Rock and encourage those paying the levy to provide their comments on the BIA to Council.Council endorsed a recommendation later in the meeting to reach out to commercial property owners to encourage them to attend a future Council meeting to provide their comments/ feedback on the White Rock BIA.
2022-03-28Proposed changes to the City’s Freedom of Information Bylaw, proposing a $10 application fee. Concern was noted in regard to a proposed application fee and that the FOI files had not been updated on the City Website.Staff noted that the FOI website would be updated as soon as possible.
2022-03-07Comment in regard to the budget: would like to see charts for capital expenditures past, present and future.Staff noted at the Finance and Audit meeting of March 8, there will be the opportunity to discuss this.
2022-03-07Tree Canopy: concern with Council permitting a request to cut tree(s) at 15600 Block on Semiahmoo Avenue (bylaw was waived).

Recent delegation requesting trimming on the hump, stating it was not Council's responsivity to get the hump back to the clear cut state. (Views for walking or driving are not required).  
Staff noted this was the direction of Council.

Staff noted there was a request for a report to come back to Council, no decision has been made on this request.
2022-02-28Addition questions/ comments on submission regarding the lights (view here) .Comments received by Council.
2022-02-28Question regarding neon light strips on new property developments and whether they fall within the City's allowable parameters for brightness levels.Foster Martin on White Rock Commons - Redeveloping the Town Centre of our 'City By The Sea' in the image of our OCP. The 'light strip's' are an iconic architectural design feature of the 'Foster Martin on White Rock Commons' buildings at 1484 Martin Street. They are also a feature of the approved Development Permit.

The Development Permit is consistent with the Official Community Plan. Two of the three towers are built. We expect occupancy permit to be issued in late February or early March. We expect the public plaza and fountain to be completed and fully accessible by May. We anticipate much of the off site landscaping to be done in April/May coincident with 'planting season'. And we expect construction on Tower 3 to commence in the spring.
2022-02-07Questions surrounding capital expenditures (view here).Staff noted that correspondence on this matter was sent by email.
View the response.
2022-02-07Question regarding a parking ticket appeal.Staff noted that correspondence on this matter was sent by email.
View the response (page 23).
2022-01-24
  1. What is the amount in dollars of the Property Tax increase in 2022 for Multi-family units? 
  2. What is the amount of Lawyers fees budgeted for 2022?
  3. How much is budgeted for Consultants in 2022?
  1. Multi-family property tax increase for 2022
  2. The amount staff proposed is 0.5% of the total budget at $215,000 for 2022 which is trending downwards from $393,853 in 2018
  3. Consulting costs for all department operating budgets that staff proposed is 0.6% of the total budget at 291,700; broken down by fund as follows:
    -    $246,100 General Fund
    -    $11,000 for Sanitary Fund
    -    $11,000 for Drainage Fund
    -    $23,600 for Water Fund
2022-01-24Comments were submitted regarding the need for a warming center in White Rock.Council received this submission, and agreed that there is a need for a warming shelter in White Rock. This item was discussed again during a corporate report later in the evening on a daytime warming center (see report here and video clip here).
2022-01-10Questions/ concerns regarding increases in property tax assessments and potential impacts on City property taxes, specifically for businesses (view here).A 20% increase in assessment does not translate to an automatic tax increase. If the tax percent for 2022 set by Council is zero and your property increased in value similar to the average change for your Property Class, you will have no tax increase.   If the assessment is below the average change for your Property Class you would pay less taxes and if it is higher than the average you would pay more (even if tax increase is zero)  - the following graphic and videos are very helpful.

It is often misunderstood that higher assessment drives more funds into a municipality – we don’t get more funds from assessment being higher, it only changes the collection based on the average change of the property classes. New Market value (new builds) bring more taxes to the municipality and using the zero tax increase example will help with tax collections – in other words the budget gets divided by more properties based on their assessment.

Council did not have a opportunity to discuss Budget for 2022 yet.   Staff will be presenting the draft 2022 budget on January 24 and the community, including business will have an opportunity to provide input. In addition Council will have the opportunity before May 15 to discuss tax distribution by Class (residential vs Commercial). Hope this provides a bit of clarity on your property assessment which experienced a dramatic increase for all British Columbians property owners.
2022-01-10Questions surrounding the Centre Street Hillside walkway upgrade and concerns with eliminating front door access from Centre Street (view here).Council heard your concerns about the Centre Street Walkway project and its' effect on your use of the City right-of-way. It is noted that City staff will continue to discuss this Council Priority with you as this Spring's construction start nears.
2022-01-10Comments submitted surrounding the City of White Rock Tree Preservation Bylaw (view here).Received by Council for information.


  1. 2021
  1. 2020
  1. 2019