Is it time for change along White Rock’s waterfront?
Many, particularly those who have called the area home for decades, say no.
It’s no surprise when developers disagree with the statement, considering the money that stands to be made on virtually any residential project overlooking the Semiahmoo Bay.
It is, after all, a much-coveted view.
Since January, citizens have been asked their thoughts on just such a project envisioned for the corner of Marine Drive and Oxford Street. Proponents of the project initially said their aim is to offer the majority of those who buy into it a view, and the only way to accomplish the goal was to go higher than what the area’s zoning currently allows.
The first concept plans for the White Rock Muffler site detailed options for either a 15-, nine- or six-storey building.
In March, the developer asked citizens to comment on a six-storey design.
While the majority who turned out to that second meeting were none-too-pleased that variances to zoning were requested, others said it is high time something is done to revitalize the waterfront. It is tired, and the city – residents, businesses and visitors included – is suffering as a result.
The question is, exactly what should that revitalization entail?
White Rock has embarked on several initiatives aimed at helping guide the entire city’s future: a town centre urban design concept is in its final stages, a draft business-needs assessment is in-hand and a call for tenders on a waterfront visioning process has been made, to name a few.
Will the latter suggest highrises overlooking Semiahmoo Bay? It’s possible.
If anything is certain as all of these efforts unfold, it’s that some degree of change will happen, and not everyone will be happy with the end result.
What is also certain is that the answer shouldn’t be to simply do nothing.
Perhaps the best those concerned with what the future holds for White Rock can do is make their concerns known; be part of the process.
Those who choose to sit back and watch, never offering an opinion or suggestion, will be hard-pressed to justify complaints down the road that the process was lacking or the results unsatisfactory.