Last Friday, my wife and I walked the entire length of Marine Drive.
Interested in the current White Rock question – “Is Marine Drive Dying?” – we counted 11 “for sale” or boarded-up businesses on West Beach; just one on East Beach and, significantly, the Sandbar Bistro has recently opened on West Beach.
We now see an announcement in the Peace Arch News for a Marine Drive Business Task Force. Hopefully, this will result in a credible, forward-looking study. Until then, it is hard to know if Marine Drive is actually “dying”; but, for sure, West Beach looks extremely unhealthy right now.
There have been many suggestions offered in the letters to the editor – some sound good, some seem unrealistic or extremely expensive. Pending a reliable study, I want to suggest there is a low-cost way to at least try to help both beaches and our otherwise-forgotten town itself.
As in many California seaside towns, I suggest the task force include a pilot project of having environmentally friendly hop-on/hop-off mini-buses that charge perhaps a toonie to take visitors along Marine Drive – with a stop at the planned parkade – that circles up to the businesses in town and provides a much-needed means for White Rock residents, seniors especially, to visit Marine Drive without the heart-thumping climb.
The pilot test, possibly giving jobs to student drivers, would let the entire city see if businesses both up and down benefit, and if Marine Drive sees fewer parking problems by dispersing parking over a wider area.
Pending a fuller study, this might alleviate at least some of the issues for the entire city at a low cost.
Allan Quigley, White Rock