Does the Peninsula want tourists?
Tourist dollars can be a significant income stream for an area. Tell me, if Vancouver has a reputation as a No-Fun City, can you say that White Rock has a reputation as a No-Welcome kind of tourist town?
White Rock, theoretically, was established as a resort destination for Vancouver residents. The beaches, the waterfront, all speak to those days when civic planners carefully thought out how to make a place welcoming. To this day, mainstays and fly-by-night business owners seek out the area as a place for investment and earnings potential.
What happens to businesses who come here? The winter, the draconian bylaws of White Rock, and an establishment that seems xenophobic at best.
In the winter, without promotion, many businesses suffer because of the weather. Just try stepping into a waterfront restaurant that remains open during the winter on a Tuesday night, and you’ll find yourself with a cavernous, if not lousy, experience. Outside Uli’s, The Boathouse and a few others, the place is deserted and the menu much diminished.
The bylaw enforcement program is run like a scam. Did you know there is a rigorous program for regulations concerning sandwich boards? That, in addition to provincial smoking regulations, there is also a municipal bylaw with enforcement and signage focusing only, it seems, in the Five Corners area. The department bylaws speak to an established – and angsty – business community that is determined to avenge every slight or hurdle that has been their personal ‘cross to bear.’ Very unfriendly to the majority of small businesses. Either that, or we see selective enforcement towards areas of potential.
Should White Rock ever realize the virtue of their city, we would see less development that keeps it only in people’s minds as a bedroom community, and see a great growth in real-estate value and small-business income earnings potential.
This year, we saw the arrival of the Vancouver Trolley Company’s investment in the earnings potential of this fair city, but we also saw the lamentable loss of Hillcrest shopping centre.
Clearly, the civic planners that built White Rock in the spirit of fun are long-gone in the municipal hall. Jeez, though, why can’t we at least consult about it? We have provincial civil servants that might see the merits of a day-trip destination out of Vancouver or a place for weary road travellers just over the border from the U.S.A.
Wake up, White Rock!
Coralie McCormick, White Rock