When Lance King did an informal survey of those who frequent White Rock’s waterfront, he heard the same comments about its promenade over and over: it’s too narrow, too straight and boring.
So, King decided to try and do something about it.
The artist/designer put pencil to paper, and, after about 20 hours’ work, came up with a plan for East Beach he hopes will catch on.
“Everyone I’ve talked to has been positive about it,” the White Rock resident said.
His proposed Ocean Point Recreational Plaza is 70,000 square feet in all. Resembling a wave, King’s vision stretches about 600 feet from end to end and extends about 220 feet towards the ocean. Suggested features include a life-size sculpture of a humpback whale breaching in a 40-foot-diameter pool, a skateboard park and an interactive children’s playground.
King, 65, stressed that while the design includes extensive use of natural rocks, nothing about it is set in stone. He showed it to city officials about four months ago, and, citing a good response, now wants to know what citizens of White Rock think of it.
City manager Dan Bottrill described King’s proposal as “very appealing.”
At the same time it is “a pretty significant project… a $6 million project,” Bottrill said.
While the design is not in the city’s current financial plan, where it and other proposals might fit will likely be part of discussions as the city moves forward with its next financial plan.
Including it in a community forum similar to that held last November may be another way to gauge public support, Bottrill said.
“At the end of the day, too, it’s not just about this project. It’s about this project in comparison to all of the other projects that we have, and so how does this project fit in with the other priorities in the City of White Rock.”
Extending into Semiahmoo Bay is a complicating factor, as it would involve obtaining approvals from various provincial and federal authorities.
Regardless, no proposals are written off, Bottrill said.
“You never know. Sometimes it may not be exactly the concept that we go with, but there may be some nuggets with respect to any plan that comes forward that says, hey, let’s think about this,” he said. “I think we always have to be open to fresh ideas.”
King said in addition to adding some life to East Beach, the plaza would help curb erosion that’s occurring along the promenade, and increase tourism appeal.
“This could put White Rock on the map… do nothing but good for White Rock and the merchants here,” he said.
Regarding the estimated cost, King said he would suggest pursuing three funding sources: federal and provincial grants; a commitment from the City of White Rock; and a legacy fund.
Leaving a legacy is a big part of the plaza, he said.
“I’m not doing it for money. I’m doing it because I want to leave something here that’s lasting.”