At first glance, the proposal to allow a commercial operator to set up an adventure park in Ruth Johnson Park in White Rock might seem like a good idea. Other municipalities have adventure parks. Why not White Rock?
The challenge for White Rock is limited land base, complicated by a growing South Surrey and the ongoing densification of both areas. The City of Surrey is already planning major densification in and around Semiahmoo Mall at the gateway to White Rock. White Rock has zoning for dense population and some developments approved, under construction, or already built in the area across North Bluff/16 Avenue from Semiahmoo Mall.
Within its limited land base, White Rock really has only one area that can be described as relatively pristine – Ruth Johnson Park and the ravines. The already-developed portion of the park, usually referred to as Centennial Park, has five tennis courts, an all-age access park, a track and soccer pitch, a baseball diamond, a lacrosse bowl, a curling rink/activity center, and an arena.
Ruth Johnson Park, to the south of the curling rink has relatively little flat space, currently occupied by two benches and two picnic tables. These could be doubled in number. Elsewhere there are several benches with good views through White Rock to Haro Strait and, on a clear day, to Juan de Fuca Strait and the Olympic Mountains.
The two ravines each have two sets of stairs and trails leading through them. These can be improved and maintained to suitable standards. But with this being the only relatively pristine area in White Rock, it should be preserved in essentially that state. It is no place for an adventure park.
The need for tranquil places to spend quiet contemplative time increases significantly as an area becomes more densely populated.
Once those areas are gone, they cannot be recovered. Ruth Johnson Park, the Coldicutt Ravine and the ravine to the east should be dedicated to nature to be enjoyed by all ages.
Roger Elmes, White Rock