Closing down the west-bound lane of Marine Drive to allow increased patio space for restaurants and a larger walkway for pedestrians would be a challenging and costly measure, according to a city staff report. (Aaron Hinks photo)

White Rock City council, BIA to further mull Marine Drive one-way

Businesses contend that challenges of measure can be mitigated

White Rock council and staff will continue to consult with the city’s BIA to look at ways to make a one-way closure of Marine Drive – or some alternative – workable during the current ban on inside dining.

That was the outcome of a sometimes testy special virtual meeting of council on safety measures for Marine Drive Monday (May 3), in which the lack of outdoor dining space for restaurants and cafés became the principal topic.

White Rock BIA executive director Alex Nixon was adamant that the problems faced by businesses on Marine Drive came down to a lack of table space, terming it “truly an existential issue for Marine Drive.”

At the same time, Coun. David Chesney was disturbed that his suggestion of the BIA developing a plan to market the businesses principally to White Rock residents had become a football after the BIA had publicly aired its concerns to news media.

“We do feel that there’s a lack of understanding or a misunderstanding about the challenges that White Rock eateries currently face,” Nixon noted in a report released last week and in a story published on Peace Arch News’ website.

“We did not bring these ideas forward because we enjoy writing letters,” the report reads. “We brought them forward because we consulted our members and researched possible solutions to the existential threat they are facing.”

Nixon told council Monday that BIA members were concerned that the city had, at its April 26 meeting, voted down a motion to close off one lane of Marine Drive to make it a one-way street.

READ ALSO: White Rock council to review report on turning Marine Drive into one-way street

READ ALSO:Challenges stall one-way proposal for White Rock’s Marine Drive

The measure has been seen as a way to increase restaurant patio space, and also create a wider pedestrian walkway to avoid overcrowding.

Engineering and municipal operations director Jim Gordon had told council during that meeting that while the northern lane of Marine Drive could be closed, allowing only east-bound traffic along the waterfront, the move would present many challenges – and would require two weeks, at least, to put into effect.

“You would be looking at $30,000 to $40,000 just to set it up and get the proper barriers,” Gordon said.

Among the challenges, Gordon said, would be providing that the closed lane could still be opened to allow access to fire and police services and also delivery trucks for restaurants, which must unload goods from Marine Drive.

A single emergency incident on a one-lane Marine Drive would likely result in “gridlock,” he told council.

The one-way traffic would also result in considerable detours for local traffic which would put a further load on nearby streets such as Victoria Avenue, he warned.

Not the least of the problems, he said, would be ensuring that drivers understood the changes, which would mean extra signage and possibly assigning flag-people to direct traffic.

But, while city staff have said implementing the plan presented many challenges, Nixon – backed up by Primos Mexican Grill general manager Samantha McQuade – said business owners are confident they can mitigate the challenges to make the plan work.

Nixon noted that restaurants and cafés are currently down to three to 10 tables – some 15 to 30 per cent of previous traffic – and that many run the risk of not being able to survive.

Creating a lane closure would boost available space between 50 and 100 per cent, Nixon said.

“For many, that’s the difference between paying the lease or not,” he said. “We’ve looked at how to increase seating capacity, but the BIA has zero capacity to do that. The only ones who can do that are city council.”

Accusing the BIA of not being able to fulfil its marketing mandate, Chesney asked that a BIA report in response to his marketing suggestion be shared with council, receiving assurances from Nixon and Mayor Darryl Walker that this would happen.

“I am very disappointed at the tack you thought to take that White Rock council is choking off the business of White Rock,” Chesney told Nixon.

“Business owners are very concerned,” Nixon countered. “The challenge isn’t a marketing challenge – it’s a seating capacity challenge.”



alex.browne@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BusinessCity of White RockCoronavirusTourism

Just Posted

People were lined up around the fields at a drop-in vaccine clinic at Newton Athletic Park on Tuesday (April 27, 2021), which is one of the high-transmission neighbourhoods that are being given vaccine priority. This clinic was one of at least three to open in the city on Tuesday. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s weekly cases continue to drop, push for 80% vaccination rate citywide

BCCDC reports 263 cases for Surrey the week of May 30 to June 5

Fleetwood Park Secondary School’s 2021 commencement ceremonies were held over the course of two days, June 10 and 11. Grads went through a small, distanced ceremony in groups of four, with up to four members of the grad’s household. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s 2021 grads find creative ways to celebrate in another year of COVID-19

This year’s Grade 12 students were unable to have any large-scale events

Friends of Bear Creek Park held a ‘yellow-ribbon event’ on Saturday (June 12, 2021), with protesters at 84th Avenue and King George Boulevard and 84th Avenue and 140th Street. People were asked to tie a yellow ribbon in their yard “to celebrate and to show support for our trees in Bear Creek Park.” (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Protesters hold ‘yellow-ribbon’ event at Surrey’s Bear Creek Park

People asked to tie a yellow ribbon in their yard to ‘show support for our trees’

All nine White Rock Renegades softball teams are set to take part in the Canadian Pride and Power Tournament, scheduled for July 1-4. (Aaron Hinks photo)
White Rock Renegades set to host multi-team Pride and Power softball tournament

‘There’s going to be a lot of excitement in the park,’ said Greg Timm

The Lower Mainland Green Team and students from Earl Marriott Secondary remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park. (Contributed photo)
Green Team returns to White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park to monitor previous work

Environmental volunteers, South Surrey students remove invasive species

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Most Read