EDITORIAL: Caution on White Rock parkade re-opening is wise

Constant state of flux around COVID-19 warrants careful consideration

If wishes were horses, as the old saying goes, then beggars would ride.

The majority of people – with livelihoods threatened, or curtailed, by COVID-19; schedules and plans sent sideways and recreational activities stalled by precautions – would like nothing better than to go back to a pre-pandemic ‘normal’ life.

All of us who have – in the current scenario – become ‘beggars’ starved for choice, might want to wish away COVID-19.

Sadly the science, and the numbers of infected and dead say it’s not that easy. While we may miss many things, we are not short of object lessons, to the south and elsewhere, that this virus cannot be fought merely by an effort of will. Surging infection rates, in the wake of an eagerness to get back to business and daily work and relaxation routines, suggest strongly that wishing will not make it so.

It’s easy to understand the desperate need of local businesses to come to grips with the new realities. Most have been admirable in their efforts to adapt to and move forward responsibly. It’s easy, too, to understand the BIA’s push to reopen White Rock’s waterfront parkade to provide even more parking for the Marine Drive strip.

But we would be wise to heed the notes of caution about moving forward too fast sounded regularly at White Rock council meetings by Coun. David Chesney, most recently on Monday night, before council voted to move the issue of the parkade reopening to the city’s new COVID-19 Recovery Task Force.

READ MORE: Re-opening of White Rock parkade awaits council decision

“Two hundred (parking) spots probably mean on average – at three or four people (per vehicle) – 600 (to) 700 (to) 800 more people on our waterfront,’ he said, noting the spate of visitors during last weekend’s sunshine.

“I don’t think that we want to put any more people into that mix, to be very honest,” he added. “The restaurants can’t get any busier – they’re chock-a-block full as it is, with the weather… the sidewalks currently are very difficult to pass. I’m happy to say the promenade and the pier, to this point, have had fairly good social distancing. But adding a further 600 to 800 people to the mix would be the wrong way to go.”

As Couns. Erika Johanson and Helen Fathers noted, forwarding the parkade reopening issue to the task force will have the effect of delaying any decision by at least another two weeks.

Given a ‘new reality’ that is in a constant state of flux, maybe that’s not a bad thing.

CoronavirusWhite Rock

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