White Rock is ‘ready for its close-up’ after developing its first formal policy to govern filming within the city.
Created by recreation and culture director Eric Stepura, the policy – endorsed by council at its Nov. 23 meeting – sets out a framework for approval of filming activity that “benefits the community and contributes to the local and provincial economy, considering public safety, fiscal responsibility and environmental stewardship.”
The policy provides a process for managing applications to film, from initial inquiries by location managers, online applications (to be submitted at least seven days before filming), and subsequent involvement of engineering and municipal operations and bylaw and parking staff, White Rock Fire Rescue and the RCMP.
Also included in the process is a fee structure, insurance requirements, and thorough notification of neighbourhoods involved, any necessary polling of residents and community feedback, and also consultation with the Semiahmoo First Nation, particularly where there is any potential for environmental impact.
Productions would also be evaluated on whether they are ‘low-impact’ or ‘high-impact’ – the latter category including productions which involve large-scale special effects, explosions, or multiple days of disrupting parking or traffic.
The policy also calls for a damage deposit and full onsite inspections, up to the end of the production, including ensuring that locations are returned to the way they were originally found, or in a better condition.
Productions using the beach and foreshore would also need to be signed off by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, while any use of railway property would also require approval from the BNSF as well as city approval.
Use of the promenade and the pier would also require approval of the engineering and municipal operations department and the recreation and culture department.
There would be some exemptions for student and or not-for-profit productions, the policy states.
“Legitimate and insured post-secondary student productions, non-profit organizations and public service projects may be exempt from filming fees, but are subject to charges if they require city services (e.g. RCMP services, parking, etc.)”