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Encroachments a ‘tender’ issue in White Rock’s Centre Street Walkway project

City staff say some residents having a difficult time with design of hillside pedestrian corridor
White Rock council in March endorsed moving ahead with a Centre Street walkway. (File photo)

Residents who are unhappy about losing encroachments onto city land that they have become accustomed to using are having a tough time with the City of White Rock’s Centre Street Walkway project, council heard this week.

In response to a request for an update on the project – a hillside pedestrian corridor linking Columbia Street and Marine Drive – director of engineering and municipal operations Jim Gordon told council Sept. 20 that the city’s plan to remove eight encroachments has been challenging for some of those affected.

“It is a difficult task for some of them,” Gordon said. “The encroachments have been there a long time – parking pads, things like that, that make things very hard for their properties to work without the encroachments.

“We are progressing into stronger and stronger conversations as we clear those.”

When Gordon was asked for further details regarding one of the affected properties, Mayor Darryl Walker suggested that discussion of such particulars might not be appropriate for an open council meeting.

Agreeing it was a “tender” matter, Gordon said staff expect to provide council with a report on the walkway project at its next regular meeting, set for Oct. 4. Following that, work on detailed design is to get underway, with construction eyed for next spring and summer.

Council voted unanimously in March 2021 to revive a conceptual plan for the corridor that originally came forward in 2014, using community amenity contributions of $900,000 to fund a preliminary design, budget and schedule for construction.

The original project was put on the back burner when focus turned to redeveloping Memorial Park and building the waterfront parkade, Coun. Helen Fathers told council at the March 8, 2021 meeting.

READ MORE: White Rock revives Centre Street walkway

The plan calls for construction and landscaping work to improve the accessibility and safe usage of the steeply sloping road allowance which offers views of Semiahmoo Bay.

Developed in consultation with residents who live adjacent to the walkway, the original concept was drafted with the idea of formalizing existing stairs, terraces and walkways, opening up more park and green space, providing an opportunity for public art, and enhancing already-used pedestrian linkages and thoroughfares.

– with files from Alex Browne
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Tracy Holmes

About the Author: Tracy Holmes

Tracy Holmes has been a reporter with Peace Arch News since 1997.
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