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.

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. 

Submit a Question:

If you are unable to attend in-person, submit your question by:

  • Email to clerksoffice@whiterockcity.ca with "QA period" in the subject line
  • Questions must be submitted 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.

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

Questions and Answers (Regular Council)

DateQuestion/CommentAnswer/Response
2024-06-10Comments were provided regarding a petition with significant community support that advocates for immediate action towards accessibility on the Pier. Council was asked to consider funding the accessible pier mat now so that work on this project can begin immediately.Comments only. No answer/response to provide.
2024-06-10

Why is City Council approving a 5-year financial plan that includes a 10 million dollar increase in Property taxes over the next 5 years. This Council has overseen 43 million dollars in operating surpluses accumulate over the first two years of its mandate. Isn’t it time to re-instate the Finance and Audit committee to analyze why property taxes need to increase an average of 2 million dollars per year?

In addition, why does the city have over 180 million dollars in Cash and Cash Equivalents in the bank today (up from 60 million 10 years ago)? Why does the city have 47 million dollars of Capital Asset Carry-Over projects from 2023?

If City Staff can’t spend the money City Council authorizes for collection each year, why approve an annual tax increase without understanding the reasons for the surpluses?

Response can be viewed here
2024-05-27When will White Rock reach its maximum capacity to handle sewage?Staff informed that the City plans for growth. The Infrastructure Master Plans are built for the future (20-25 years) and are reviewed every 3-5 years (growth and capacity are considered).
2024-05-27

Why is City Staff recommending that the taxpayers of White Rock pay Agilyx Group $120,000 in travel costs to install the new Financial System Software?

Why is City Staff recommending an expenditure of $568,000 dollars for a "Manager of Revenue Services" in the contract award for the new 3.5 million dollar Financial System?

Why is City Staff asking the taxpayers of White Rock to pay $537,500 in "license fees" for the last 2.5 years of the 6-year contract when the funds have already been allocated as part of the financial plan of 2024?

Response can be viewed here
2024-05-13Concerns were noted with Council not following the current OCP. Why is the Planning Department bringing forward applications that do not align with this?
The Mayor noted that anyone has the right to submit an application. Staff are required to bring all applications forward for Council consideration. It is up to Council to determine whether or not to go forward with each application.
2024-05-13Comments were provided on Item 6.2.f (Pier Accessibility Improvement Options). The pier should be accessible for everyone, this is something that would benefit the community as a whole.
Comments only. No answer/response to provide.
2024-05-13Comments were provided on Item 6.2.f (Pier Accessibility Improvement Options).In support of a mat being placed on the pier for accessibility and suggested the City could apply for a grant through SPARC BC (accessible tourism) for this initiative. 
Comments only. No answer/response to provide.
2024-05-13Comments were provided on Item 6.2.f (Pier Accessibility Improvement Options). Noted option #1 is the best option to proceed with. Concerns were further noted with the city’s accessibility plan.
Comments only. No answer/response to provide.
2024-05-13Comments were provided regarding Item 6.2.f (Pier Accessibility Improvement Options). White Rock needs accessibility improvements, including the pier. Safety for the public is important.
Comments only. No answer/response to provide.
2024-05-13Concerns were noted regarding Item 12.1 on the agenda (Trial Period Allowing Dogs on the Promenade April – October 5:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.). Not in support of this, does not believe moving forward with this is in the best interest of the City.
Comments only. No answer/response to provide. 
2024-05-13Comments submitted on Pier accessibility improvement options View the full submission with the response from staff here
2024-05-13

What other accessibility improvements have been brought forward to the city by

community members, and if these issues were to take precedence over the accessibility of the pier,

which has been greatly researched, and hugely supported by the community, why?

Thank you for your email regarding the accessibility recommendations for the Pier. 

In response to your question about what other accessibility improvements have been brought forward to the city by community members, here are some examples:

  • Improvements to uneven existing sidewalks.
  • Construction of sidewalks on roads without sidewalks.
  • Installation of wheelchair ramps.
  • Addition of tactile strips on wheelchair ramps.
  • Review of audible signals and street furniture at intersections to improve accessibility for persons with vision challenges.
  • Installation of bus stop pads.
Recent examples in response to resident requests include:
  • Reconstruction of the substandard wheelchair ramps at Winter Street at Thrift Avenue as per a resident request.
  • Current design work for accessible access to the southeast corner of the walking track at Centennial Park.
  • Provision of an additional van accessible parking space on the waterfront near Elm Street.
  • Installation of delineators on the east side of Martin Street north of Thrift Avenue to mark out pedestrian space.
  • New crosswalk under design at Oxford Street and Russell Avenue.

These improvements are part of our broader commitment to enhancing accessibility throughout the city. Each project is prioritized based on safety considerations and the overall impact on accessibility.

For a comprehensive overview of our initiatives, please refer to our Accessibility Action Plan, which outlines our strategies and ongoing projects to improve accessibility. The plan is linked from the following web page: whiterockcity.ca/Accessibility

2024-05-13

1. Why does the city have 113 million dollars more Cash and Cash equivalents in the bank than it did ten years ago?

2. Why is accounts receivable now 6 million when 10 years ago it was only 1.5 million?


The cash and cash equivalents have increased by $85.3M from 2014 to 2023, not $113M as stated in your question. It appears you might have been referring to the total financial assets before subtracting liabilities, which indeed have increased by $112.5M over the same period.

Regarding your observations on the 2014 figures, it's important to note that these numbers are a decade old, and significant changes have occurred since then. The City's population has grown, leading to increased infrastructure needs and consequently, a greater emphasis on bolstering reserve funds for asset improvements. Notably, the acquisition of the Water Utility in 2015 is not included in the 2014 figures. In 2014, cash and cash equivalents made up 97.2% of the annual budget. By 2023, this percentage increased to 105.8%, reflecting the City Council’s strategic emphasis on enhancing reserve fund balances to support infrastructure projects . Although the cash and cash equivalents—which primarily represent reserve fund balances—might seem substantial, they are critical given the estimate that upgrading and replacing the City's infrastructure could exceed $1B. This is significantly more than the $138M in cash and cash equivalents recorded as of December 31, 2023.

In response to your second query about the accounts receivable: the increase includes $1.7M attributable to the Water Utility acquired in 2015. For a detailed breakdown of the 2023 Accounts Receivable balance, please refer to Note 3 of the audited financial statements. The analysis shows that property taxes payable increased by $975K from 2014 to 2023, and there are outstanding water user fees of $1.7M in 2023, which did not exist in 2014. Interest receivable, included in the Accounts Receivable total, contributed $697K in 2023. The remaining $1M difference stems from savings related to the RCMP contract, receivables associated with asset improvement and Recreation & Culture programs, among other items

2024-04-29No Q&A submitted for this meeting.
2024-04-15Why does City Staff maintain that a decrease in property taxes in 2024 will automatically mean those funds will need to be collected in 2025 as part of an 8.49% property tax increase?

As previously explained, the surplus figures for 2022 ($18.7M) and 2023 ($23.6M) represent the amounts before budgeted transfers to reserves, as outlined in the "Budgeted Transfers to Reserves" section of the corporate report. These transfers are essential for funding the city's infrastructure needs and are an integral part of the property taxes and user fees collected by the City of White Rock.

The assertion that the city has collected $42.4 million more than necessary over the past two years does not account for these critical allocations to capital reserves, which support asset improvements and maintenance of our infrastructure throughout the year.

Moreover, it's important to understand the implications of using one-time surplus funds to reduce property taxes temporarily. Such a measure would result in a temporary tax decrease for one year but would necessitate a larger increase in the following year. This is because the city's operating expenses, including mandatory increases for inflation and union wages, are projected to rise by at least 3%-4% annually. Utilizing one-time funding to lower taxes for the current year increases the funding gap for the subsequent year. This gap includes both the one-time funds used and the ongoing costs of operating the city at the same service level. Unless service levels are reduced, the budget must accommodate these increases, which are largely beyond the City’s control. 

2024-04-15Questions surrounding the Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) system.View full question and staff response here.
2024-03-25

When is the Statement of Financial Information for 2023 going to be released to the public?

Specifically, when are the line items of Cash and Cash Equivalents as of December 31, 2023 and Operating Surplus for 2023 going to be available?

This question was addressed on 2024-01-15 Q&A.

The information requested will be available when year end is completed.

2024-03-11

Please update us with respect on your deliberations reversing the federal Housing Accelerator Fund. I notice that White Rock did not receive an allocation this year and I would like to know the reasons for this.

Late last week we learned that the City was not successful in our grant application to the federal Housing Accelerator Fund. On Friday afternoon, staff met with representatives from the CMHC for further details. It is important to note that the meetings offered by the CMHC were limited to 15 minute windows, therefore the discussion was brief. The following points were discussed:

  • While CMHC staff could not provide any information on application details or scoring, they did say that it was a highly competitive application process and they had more applications than they could provide funding for.
  • All applications were reviewed against the same criteria regardless of the application stream (i.e size of community).
  • CMHC staff advised that successful municipalities will be required to publish their action plans so we will have the opportunity to take a look at them. They recommended reviewing their website for the 10 best practices Resources for Housing Accelerator Fund Applicants |CMHC (cmhc-schl.gc.ca) . Upon review, I note that some of these would have required significant changes to our OCP and to our zoning.

Staff also sought clarification as to whether the implementation of the new BC legislation played a role in the decision-making process. CMHC staff noted that while similar in intent the new legislation was distinct from this grant process and was not a factor in the decision-making process. We also discussed potential community hub plans and advised that housing could be a consideration as part of that. CMHC staff said there may be other grants available, so we will keep an eye out for future opportunities.

2024-02-26No Q&A submitted for this meeting.
2024-02-12There will be a Peace Boat Tour off the West Coast of the US and Canada who have noted interested in stopping at the White Rock Pier. Are they permitted to tie up at the pier?Due to the noted size of the sailboat they would be able to tie onto the pier for a few hours (high tide) but not overnight, they can also anchor off of the pier as it is federal waters, at their own risk.
2024-02-12Questions regarding moving the City Council Chambers to the AnnexFull questions with staff responses can be viewed here.
2024-01-29Questions were asked surrounding a previous delegation regarding the budget/ financial plan process. An inquiry was made as to whether this information was formally considered by Council, and if so, when?Staff noted the following: Your delegation, presented on July 24, 2023, has been thoroughly received by Council. It is important to clarify that Council is under no obligation to act upon delegations it receives. Consequently, no specific actions or decisions were taken regarding the suggestions you proposed. Council is appreciative of your input and considers all viewpoints in its deliberations. However, in this case, your points, while duly noted, did not result in any subsequent Council action.
2024-01-29Further support was noted in support of Council sending a letter to the federal government in support of a ceasefire in Gaza. The speaker noted she wants to be a voice for the children and would like a ceasefire for the benefit of the children involved.

Council considered this request later in the meeting. 

In accordance with Council's Procedure Bylaw, delegations are not permitted if they are on a subject that is beyond the jurisdiction of Council. No further action was taken on this request.

2024-01-29A request was made for Mayor and Council to allow a delegation and a letter to be sent to the federal government in support of a ceasefire in Gaza.

Council considered this request later in the meeting. 

In accordance with Council's Procedure Bylaw, delegations are not permitted if they are on a subject that is beyond the jurisdiction of Council. No further action was taken on this request.

2024-01-15Questions regarding Daytime Warming Centre:
  • Why has Council endorsed $360,000 of the COVID-19 recovery funds to pay for this?
  • Why not fund this from the Emergency Fund Contingency Reserve set up in 2023 from the 2022 operating surplus?
  • Why not use that reserve to pay for the Daytime Warming Centre in future years instead of increasing property taxes?

(View full submission)

Staff have noted the City did not set-up an 'Emergency Fund Contingency Reserve' in 2023.  The new reserve that was established in 2023 was the Growing Communities Fund reserve, which was set up to hold the Growing Communities Fund grant received in 2023. Perhaps the writer is referring to the unallocated accumulated surplus amount for 2023 of $3.4M. If so, according to Finance policy # 307, "The transfer of a portion of the General Operating Fund accumulated surplus balance to current year operations can only be used for emergencies, non-recurring operating expenditures, or early debt repayment expenditures." The expenses related to the Warming Shelter do not meet this criterion.
2024-01-15Questions regarding 2023 operating surplus:
  • Why does Council wait until financial planning process is almost complete to learn operating surplus amount?
  • How is Council able to make informed decisions about the financial plan for 2024 - 2027 if they do not have access to the operating surplus from 2023 budget?

(View full submission)

Staff have noted that best practice, in a best-case scenario, is that budgets would be approved before the fiscal year starts, meaning before January 1 of the year, at which time operating surplus would not be known as the current year hasn't ended yet. Most BC municipalities do not approve their budgets until sometime in the 1st quarter of the year.   The City of White Rock is aiming to do the same and have its budget approved in early March 2024.

 As the City's year-end is December 31, the year-end work can only start in January. This early in the year-end process, operating surpluses are not yet known as it is only after the year-end work that these are finalized.  This is why they are not available until after the year-end work has been completed and are discussed as part of the audited financial statements.

 As is standard practice, the public will be notified of the year's operating surplus when Council is made aware.

 As was stated in the CFO's Letter of Transmittal for the 2022 Financial Statements, page 3 (part of the Jun 12, 2023, Agenda package), the $18.7M surplus that the writer is referring to is the consolidated surplus and before any of the budgeted transfers to reserves have been considered. The General Fund surplus was $12.8M. From that, the planned (budgeted) transfers to reserves of $9.3M left the city with an unallocated surplus of only $3.4M.  The majority of this amount was transferred to capital reserves. The writer is encouraged to read the CFO's Letter of Transmittal.

2024-01-15Inquiry regarding building permit wait time.Staff response was provided directly to the writer due to the subject matter containing personal information about a specific permit application.
2024-01-15Suggestion for upgrades to be made along beachside walking path by railroad tracks between Oxford and Bayview streets, to make path more accessible.

Staff noted that it sounds like the person is referring to the beachside strip of land on the south side of the train tracks from Oxford to Bayview.

Given the proximity of this area to the ocean environment and sensitive dune habitat it is currently being maintained in its natural state as much as possible, with occasional invasive plant removal work by staff and partnership with the Lower Mainland Green Team.

We will take this feedback into consideration and will assess the area with this in mind.