Letters to the Editor

LETTERS: White elephant on our waterfront

 Letter-writer Stephen Christie suggests city leaders read their reports closely before building another megaproject. - Aaron Hinks photo
Letter-writer Stephen Christie suggests city leaders read their reports closely before building another megaproject.
— image credit: Aaron Hinks photo

Editor:

Re: Tourism ‘requires product,’ Feb. 3.

There seems to be a mania for megaprojects in White Rock, whether they be mega-houses, mega-towers or mega-parkades.

On the White Rock city website, it states: “This (generating required $1 million in parkade revenues) will be a challenge, as this represents an approximate 73 per cent increase in waterfront parking lot revenues, with a 47 per cent increase in the number of stalls.”

As a business consultant, I recognize the carefully chosen words that we use to tell the client that they are on a dangerous course. The centerpiece of the proposed “beachfront revitalization” is a parkade that is accessed inadequately on narrow or steep arterial roads.

I have been to the beachfront more than 2,500 times at all hours. I have witnessed the occasional peak-demand period when there is no parking. These peak-demand events are a rarity, so it is not economically viable to build beachfront parking to satisfy these times.

I would suggest we look at alternatives that have a quaint or unique factor to satisfy the high-demand periods. Trolleys have been suggested, or possibly we could approach some of the tech giants that are looking to display real-world application of driverless shuttles.

I am saddened by the decay that I have witnessed in the beachfront walkway and Marine Drive commercial strip. The undulating, unweeded walkways appear tired. Thousands of us had to flee into the sea on New Year’s Day to escape the dangers of the icy walkways the city did not have the courtesy to maintain for this annual event.

This week, the mayor appeared on TV looking bemused. Amid the images of vacant commercial spaces, he stated: “Something is wrong here.” How can I say the truth in the delicately couched language of a consultant? Perhaps a reference to a mirror?

As taxpayers, we need to know our money is being spent prudently rather than on mega-water projects, mega-waterfront facelifts and parkades. Measured steps that respect available resources and encourage growth are what makes great businesses and great cities. Forget the mega-dreams and concentrate on doing the little things right so we can make our community more attractive.

Highway billboards, info at BC Tourism and engaging consumers through social media are solutions that would cost a fraction that would be lost on a parkade.

Sell sunsets and supper, not just warm summer nights.

I think this city deserves something better than a white elephant as the centrepiece of our waterfront. Driverless shuttles are a good idea… Driverless cities are not!

Stephen Christie, White Rock

Question of ownership

Had a great time in the ’80s at White Rock’s sandcastle contests, but that was not what attracted me and my family since the 1960s. It was the beautiful seaside-type ambiance, with the fish-and-chip shops, looking for little crabs near the rocks, finding seashells, making a sandcastle out of an old ice-cream bucket…

My gut feeling tells me that foreign ownership will take the dream away from the next generation of the pioneers of this once-innocent and vibrant seaside jewel.

Will Waterbeek, Maple Ridge

• • •

While enjoying the warm Arizona sun at cocktail hour, up comes a story about White Rock on the 6 o’clock news.

There it was, “for sale, for rent, for lease” signs as far as the eye could see on Marine. And there was a council member blaming “foreign ownership.” Where does that come from? Did an Asian billionaire see an incredible investment opportunity and buy Uli’s or the hotel?

There is a big difference between fake news and ridiculous news. Anyone who knows anything about White Rock knows full well that it is either aliens or the water, not “foreign ownership.”

Barry Gaudin, White Rock

B.C. rules play role

The one waterfront restaurant issue that’s getting no ink – probably out of fear of reprisal from the politically correct crowd – is the lowering of the legal blood alcohol limit by the provincial government to .05 per cent.

This has resulted in the potential for criminal charges to be laid against any couple who dares to share a bottle of wine while dining out, and then has the misfortune of driving through a roadside check on their way home.

Compound this with the limited number of routes when leaving the beach area and overzealous law enforcement by White Rock RCMP, and Marine Drive has been transformed into a no-go zone for many a dining patron.

Many suspensions have been laid under this law against people displaying no signs of impairment. It serves no purpose other than to appease the special-interest group that lobbied to amend the previous law of .08 per cent.

What it has created is now visible for all to see along Marine Drive – failed enterprises, lost livelihoods and empty storefronts on what was once a vibrant restaurant strip. This, along with making criminals out of respectable individuals whose same actions a few years ago would have gone unnoticed and harmed no one.

Glen Gerow, White Rock

 

 

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