LETTERS: Bold steps on the waterfront
Re: Marine Drive ‘is dying,’ Jan. 25.
Despite being from continental Europe, I have known of this area for 17 years and will give you some advice on how to revive the waterfront in White Rock.
Close Marine Drive for motorized traffic from Elm to Martin Streets, or to Giraffe Restaurant. Make the parking lots there a green area with room for different vendors, cafés and restaurants; “Dig up a parking lot, and make it our favourite spot,” to twist Joni Mitchell’s words.
Noisy motorcycles and beefed-up cars on Marine Drive sour the experience of enjoying a walk or having a drink or a meal in one of the nice sidewalk restaurants. If a section of Marine Drive is closed, traffic could not drive through.
Add an attraction to the pier. Build a platform or bridge on the breakwater for people who like to fish, and construct an extension to the pier for the young people to jump into the water, where they are already enjoying themselves during hot summer days.
It is simple improvements to already-existing infrastructure with the potential of drawing crowds.
At one or perhaps both ends of the promenade, make room for an outdoor gym, which can be used all year round by people trying to stay fit, adding a workout to their run.
The city is promoting the heritage of the rail line. Why not revive the station and negotiate with the railroad to make stops at White Rock? It will solve some of the parking problems, and who would not like to take the family on a train ride to and from Vancouver?
Initiatives like these are used by a vast number of small European towns and cities to attract people and remain relevant for business.
More ideas could be put forward, but I think closing of Marine Drive for through traffic would be a main element to create the laid-back seafront atmosphere White Rock likes to promote.
Sitting at a sidewalk restaurant with bumper-to-bumper traffic six feet away from your red wine and steak or quiche and herb tea, does not go well with the slogan, “the City by the Sea.”
Audax omnia perpeti (boldness endures anything), I learned that working with The Royal Air Force. Of course, it can be done, and whoever would be implementing this would in this part of the world be pioneers, a word that should be close to your Canadian hearts.
Ole Nygaard, White Rock
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Restaurateur Nicholas Popoff asks, “Who do they (council) work for if it is not the people and the businesses of the City of White Rock?”
Judging by the number of amendments to the official community plan, allowing for numerous developments, I would suggest the majority are working for developers and real-estate businesses.
Keith Enns, White Rock
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Re: Tourism ‘requires product,’ Feb. 3.
I am a senior who has worked and travelled all over the world. I moved to White Rock about a year ago because of its public access for handicapped seniors, senior-friendly businesses and a quieter pace of life.
Now, after a year, I am ready to make some opinions and suggestions for this ‘little town.’
It is 2017 and people are in need of quiet green spaces, maybe more than ever. Getting to parks and beaches will always be a citizen’s pursuit.
Let’s look at Marine Drive. It is neither family-friendly nor handicapped-person friendly. The sidewalks are too narrow and the street has noisy traffic both ways.
The north side has no foliage or picnic sites; apartments have built right to the sidewalk’s edge; there is no space for a proprietor to have space for those who love dining al fresco – lovely spaces with potted seasonal flowers to view the bay.
The cafés and dining spots do not have comfortable seating. People are crowded into spots and hurried to order and eat, so others might come.
There is nothing wrong with profit, but ambiance matters as well.
The restaurants could do with an update. When out-of-town guests wish to take in the view while eating outside – as one can do in any coastal community down Washington and Oregon – there is but one restaurant here to take them, the Boat House. The others are as described.
One suggestion would be to have one-way traffic on Marine. Building a garage should be a last solution. Working closely with the east side would provide solutions to lessen the noise pollution, as well as open discussion with our First Nations.
As far as marketing tourism, my suggestion would be to make it friendly for citizens first. There is no need for Americans to enter White Rock, when they have quaint coastal towns in Washington and Oregon to relax, dine or stay in. We cannot compete with places like La Connor – the will has not been there – so let’s work with what we can do.
I agree with Discover Surrey’s Kathy James: the product is not here. One large rock painted white is not going to attract many.
Let’s stop the building along Marine Drive until there is a detailed plan that consists of green spaces north of the tracks and kiosks for children to get a balloon, kite, cotton candy or hot dog. After a nice day at the beach, parents might be open to this.
There seems to be a real focus on highrises and the gentrification of what was a ‘summer by the beach’ destination. Let’s stop for a bit and concentrate on where we are going and what a sustainable, green town should embrace for the up-the-hill and down-on-Marine-Drive areas.
I could go on, but hopefully one gets the gist of my point. White Rock is a great place to retire.
Marjorie Jackson, White Rock