Contrary to previous suggestions from city staff, residents shouldn’t expect to see any art shows, farmers’ markets or sporting activities at White Rock’s four-storey waterfront parkade, under construction at Vidal Street and Victoria Avenue.
During a public hearing Monday (July 9) on a zoning bylaw amendment – to define accepted public land uses for temporary events – planning and developments services manager Carl Johannsen acknowledged that such activities are not part of current plans for the parkade.
His comments came after frequent council critic Roderick Louis reminded council that during deliberations on the controversial parkade project, city staff had suggested that in winter months – or when the facility was not being fully used – potential uses of unused floors could be for activities such as farmers’ markets, indoor hockey or exhibitions.
When acting mayor Megan Knight invited staff comment, Johannsen – while noting the bylaw under consideration only concerned temporary activities in public spaces – agreed some ideas for additional uses of the parkade had been discussed.
“There were some ideas brought forward for potential off-season activities in the parkade,” he said. “But my sense is the parkade is being constructed for providing parking.”
Many of the ideas for the parkade were, in fact, included in Johannsen’s own written report in the agenda of the city’s land use and planning committee of July 24, 2017, (p. 169) while the then-unapproved structure was still the subject of resident protests.
At that time, Johannsen’s list of potential parkade activities had included an extension of the White Rock Farmers’ Market operating season, for which, he said, the parkade could provide “covered parking space for vendors to display their products and would easily accommodate 100 or more vendors.”
“The parkade could also be used to host art shows, art demonstrations and art sales as the covered space would protect the art work from the elements,” Johannsen had written, going on to suggest that the parkade would also provide “an opportunity to display or install public artwork.”
“The artwork can be located inside the building, such as in elevators, stairwells and internal walls, or on the outside facade.”
Johannsen had also written that sporting activities such as “archery, ball hockey, table tennis, in-line skating, skateboarding, scooter riding and cycling could take place at the parkade.” He had additionally suggested the space could be used for ‘show and shine’ car shows or “popular events such as car-trunk sales.”