Attending the public hearing regarding White Rock’s $11.4 million parkade project, I was dismayed only one business took the time to attend.
Where were the retail buildings’ landlords from Marine Drive who hope to benefit from this project? Where were the retail/restaurant owners who see the parkade as the saviour of their livelihoods?
City council makes no secret that the project is a last attempt to save the retail strip on both east and west beach. Lobbyists from the property landlords/owners and the merchants supported by the BIA have apparently persuaded a majority of council that additional parking shall keep them open.
This begs the question that if the parkade is vital to their survival, then why do the property landlords/owners not build the parkade themselves?
The public must be reminded that the parking situation today has not changed much in 10 years, so retail property owners and those who rent from them should have been aware when they bought.
Did any have a business plan based on potential customers with the available parking?
Many attending the hearing had indeed done their homework, providing figures supported by photos proving parking is not the problem, with the exception of around 10 days a year, noon to 9 p.m.
This begs the question: “Why have so many businesses closed over the last 10 years on Marine Drive? Could it be they had the wrong concept? Wrong location? Or poor operators?
I go with wrong location. The fact that only one major chain restaurant, the Boathouse, is located on Marine provides proof that the vast majority of concepts just do not work. It is not regarded in the restaurant business as being a suitable place to locate. Consumers shall no longer pay $125 for two to dine out with a view of fuel-spewing vehicles and the constant noise from bikers!
The city can build a parkade against the expressed wishes of the taxpayers, but they cannot offer any guarantee businesses shall thrive. Nor should they.
Most properties on Marine will eventually be demolished, and property owners will apply for planning permission for up to four-level condos.
One resident asked council to “think out of the box.” I agree and ask that all taxpayers do the same. My proposed plan would be to remember that it is 2017 and we have waterfront based on an English seaside town from 1930!
Consider reclaiming enough land from the water to build a hotel and casino – providing guaranteed income to the city of $25 million-plus a year – complete with a marina and parking for 800 vehicles and a seawall. Investors would be lining up, and Marine would become 80 per cent residential again, as it was originally built for.
Anyone have a better idea? Step up now, please.
H.P. Rose, White Rock