Re: Marine Drive ‘is dying’ Jan. 25,
It’s very sad that so many restaurants have closed along Marine Drive in White Rock.
I have to disagree with Coun. Grant Meyer’s comments that “a shift in the economy may be playing a role in the failing of Marine Drive restaurants,” and “a lot of my friends and family, they just don’t eat out as much as they used to.”
Well, that may be the case with his friends and family, but you can go to any popular restaurant in the South Surrey area, any day of the week, and they are always extremely busy.
What is wrong with Marine Drive comes right down to the pay parking.
The rates of $1.50 per hour (November to April) and $3 per hour (May to October) are too high. I think twice about having lunch on Marine Drive, because I don’t think it is right to have to pay $9, in the summer months, on top of paying for lunch and a leisurely walk after. It’s more the principle of the situation than the money, when parking everywhere else is free.
I agree with Coun. Bill Lawrence that “the city should be doing more to help the merchants during the winter.” Parking should be free in the winter and $1 in the summer.
As far as building a $9-million, 300-vehicle parkade that is going to generate a lot of extra money for the city, that is a good reason to lower the parking rates and give the merchants a break.
L.J. Town, Surrey
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The City of White Rock has to start doing a better job at doing their part to make White Rock a go-to destination.
The businesses are already heavily invested by providing employment and healthy taxes for White Rock.
I have said this before: a plus would be to have a city-operated or leased to someone, hot-dog stand, or popcorn stand, or ice cream stand at the end of the pier. It could be ice cream and popcorn in the summer and hotdogs and roasted chestnuts in the winter. Make White Rock a tradition for people to come to year-round, rather than just the beach in the summer. People can come for the day and have a lunch or dinner before going home.
Give the businesses a break in the winter with free parking.
I think the city missed the boat a few years ago when there was a kite company on the beach. They should have worked hand-in-hand with the owner in promoting White Rock as a kite-flying destination year-round. Anyone heard of Cannon Beach in Oregon and their kite flying? There should be a study done of seaside places like Cannon Beach, Ore., Seaside, Wash. and beach communities in California – and for that matter, how about Tofino? – to examine their successes and failures.
Summer parking – how about using the useless park-and-ride extension built a couple of years ago? Let people be trollied to and from the beach for a token amount. It would be a small investment by White Rock to maintain the taxes they receive from these businesses before they lose them. No doubt, the businesses would participate in the cost.
Time to get creative, City of White Rock, or succumb to the pressure of losing the quaint little town you are, and just being part of Surrey.
As a matter of interest, our family has lived in the White Rock, South Surrey area for over 40 years. We love White Rock.
Bob McGannon, Surrey
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The fundamental problem with the Marine Drive is that the strip is neither tourist- nor family-friendly.
Where else can you find:
• A mismatch of buildings housing restaurants of all descriptions, from ‘greasy spoons’ to fast-food outlets.
• Washroom facilities that would be condemned in most jurisdictions.
• Sidewalks so narrow that only two people can walk together, and only when there are no hydro poles.
• A constant stream of ear-shattering motorbikes back and forth; automobiles with roaring exhausts and stereo radios blaring; not to mention different ‘music’ from every establishment. Who wants to dine with all this noise from every corner of the place?
I presume Coun. Grant Meyer’s committee has studied the effects of a 300-car capacity garage and the capacity of each restaurant between Vidal Street and ‘the hump’ in relation to the influx of another minimum 600 people in the area.
I don’t think visitors want to walk from Vidal up ‘the hump’ and then on narrow sidewalk down the other side to the East Beach establishments. That stretch of Marine Drive has to be addressed separately.
Marine Drive has been discussed ad infinitum and many proposals have been forwarded to council during the past years – none, not even the enforcement of their own noise bylaw, is being followed.
Here are a few ideas:
• Develop a maritime environment along Marine Drive by sprucing up the buildings; develop an eye-pleasing, simple colour scheme.
• Make the stretch between Oxford and the hump for pedestrians only.
• Introduce new attractions to lure people to White Rock.
• Why do we not have two or three boats with fresh-fish products on the pier on weekends?
• Pass the required bylaws requiring restaurants to employ chefs trained in B.C.-accredited institutions.
• Limit the numbers of restaurants offering the same cuisine.
Those on council who have not been to cities on a sea with wide promenades, no cars, culinary restaurants, open and sheltered benches – in Eastern Canada or on other continents – can look up photos and videos on Google Earth.
Try a new approach for one year, and then decide if a 300-car garage is required.
Wolfgang Schmitz, Surrey