LETTERS: Waterfront needs support
Re: Marine Drive ‘is dying,’ Jan. 25,
It’s sad that so many restaurants have closed along Marine Drive.
I have to disagree with White Rock Coun. Grant Meyer’s comments that “a shift in the economy may be playing a role in the failing of Marine Drive restaurants,” and “a lot of my friends and family, they just don’t eat out as much as they used to.”
Well, that may be the case with his friends and family, but you can go to any popular restaurant in the South Surrey area, any day of the week, and they are always extremely busy.
What is wrong with Marine Drive comes right down to the pay parking. The rates of $1.50 per hour (November to April) and $3 per hour (May to October) are too high.
I think twice about having lunch on Marine Drive, because I don’t think it is right to have to pay $9, in the summer months, on top of paying for lunch and a leisurely walk after. It’s more the principle of the situation than the money, when parking everywhere else is free.
I agree with Coun. Bill Lawrence that “the city should be doing more to help the merchants during the winter.” Parking should be free in the winter and $1 in the summer.
As far as building a $9-million, 300-vehicle parkade, that is going to generate a lot of money for the city and a good reason to lower parking rates and give the merchants a break.
L.J. Town, Surrey
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Re: Marine-fix views absurd, Jan. 27 letters.
I agree with letter-writer Bruce McIntosh in asking why we are building a parkade for $9 million.
The parking lots sit empty most days now, and not just during the winter months anymore. In fact, September long weekend there was plenty of parking available.
Council also wants to revamp Memorial Park in September, but how does that help the businesses now struggling with higher rent/lease increases, inflated parking fees and extra costs for property taxes/private garbage pickup?
The waterfront landscaping has also seen better days, so one wonders if there is an underlying force at work here. With all the secret changes behind closed doors to our official community plan by our pro-development council, and developers successfully overriding our current OCP, could the property owners know something we don’t – hence increased rents in coalition with the city increases in order to force all the tenants out?
Is the waterfront the next target for highrise development, so more funds can be put into city coffers?
Cheryl Berti, White Rock
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Re: Are we really ready for our close-up, Jan. 27 editorial.
Gobsmacked! Absurd! Yes, I, too, wonder what our mayor and councillors are thinking.
Do they not realize White Rock is a “resort” community? As such, it is well past time for the city do to serious ‘soul-searching’ as to the immediate future, and what exactly we want our unique little part of the Lower Mainland to become.
I agree that promoting the city to the film industry is ideal – but on the other hand we can’t knock down and cover up the very reasons that attract both the movie industry and the tourists we need so badly to fill our suffering restaurants and storefronts, along the way.
What our council should be doing rather than spending $9 million on a parkade in an already-congested area – actually, exactly where the film crew is shown setting up (City aims to boost film-industry interest, Jan. 27) – is investing in ways to maintain our appeal as the small town we are.
I would suggest building on the small-town resort ideal – keeping it quaint, but most of all by giving people a good reason to come out to our beach area year-round.
Allow more food carts, buskers, beach rentals – paddle boards, pedal boats, kayaks, skim boards, etc. Let’s make it more family-friendly – kid activities, playgrounds, sand-castle contests, fishing derbies. In the ‘off-season,’ we could consider winter fairs, bringing back the sail-past, Christmas village and market, and other related activities for families and children.
And if we must build a parking lot, let’s think about building it on the other side of East Beach, where it would allow us to, perhaps, close the beach to traffic and introduce trolley service. This could allow the city to host weekly farmers markets or street fairs, have parades or even evening nights out on the beach with a movie, night market, etc.
Let’s get our First Nations involved – concerts in the band shell, booths teaching, promoting and selling items of native crafts and artistry.
There seem to be so many ways to attract what is needed to build our small, friendly town, with all its natural beauty and unique quantities – both to those who want to visit as well as those who want to show off these attributes in movies.
It is time that residents and elected councillors get a bit more creative in protecting and preserving that which we are naturally blessed with, before we let it disappear forever.
Barry Cameron, White Rock