White Rock council is examining major changes that would affect the waterfront.

White Rock council is examining major changes that would affect the waterfront.

Pier restaurants, gondolas explored by City of White Rock

Details of a possible promenade extension, pier restaurant and hillside connector have emerged with the release of consultants’ reports.

New details of a possible promenade extension, pier restaurant and hillside connector in White Rock have emerged with the release of a trio of consultants’ reports Monday.

City staff presented council with preliminary studies on waterfront improvements. Examined were extending the promenade one kilometre west, locating a restaurant on the pier and installing transportation technology such as gondolas to move people on steep slopes.

“These preliminary studies provide information that will assist council and staff in working towards the City of White Rock’s corporate priorities,” said Greg St. Louis, director of engineering, in a report to council.

Extending the promenade approximately one kilometre west, to connect to the trail at Coldicutt Ravine, is possible, and would cost an estimated $2.5 million, concluded the city’s consultant, Levelton. Retaining walls and drainage improvements would be required, along with a railway overpass for pedestrians.

St. Louis told council that preliminary discussions with railway owner BNSF have been positive, and it “looks like there should be minimal efforts (required)… to move it forward.”

A report on a possible pier-based restaurant suggested three possible locations and designs: a two-level structure built at mid-pier; a larger, one-level eatery built closer to land; and a small structure built onshore, at the base of the pier. All options come with a cost estimate of $500 per square metre, just for the building’s shell. A pier-base restaurant was concluded to be the best risk for approval and construction, St. Louis told council.

Another option floated by consultants Worley Parsons Canada Services Ltd. and PWL Partnership is leasing smaller spaces to vendors along the pier.

Also investigated were options for hillside connector systems – whether built as a tourist attraction or for commuter traffic or both. Bunt and Associates considered five options: escalators, travellators, funiculars, street cars and gondolas.

Costs vary widely for all, however, Johnston Road and Fir Street were identified as the best options for such systems.

A system of escalators could cost up to $5 million. Travellators, also known as people movers, were found ill-suited to White Rock’s steep slopes due to the technology’s slippery surfaces in wet weather.

Funiculars, or inclined railways, range in cost, but a proposal for a 55-metre funicular in Edmonton has a $24 million price tag, according to Bunt.

“It’s a very expensive option there,” St. Louis said.

Costs for street cars – which St. Louis told council “weren’t an option” – also vary, from $10-100 million per kilometre, according to the consultant. But a gondola system would likely be the most costly option. Bunt suggested a gondola in White Rock could cost up to $100 million, excluding land costs.

Council voted to receive the information.

 

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