City of White Rock outlines possible enhancements to waterfront
White Rock’s waterfront is a major part of the city’s identity, and a tourist attraction for tens of thousands of visitors annually.
With the importance of the waterfront to the city’s fortunes, White Rock has developed a Waterfront Enhancement Strategy to guide improvements over the next 10 to 20 years.
Some of the highlights include:
Improve connections with funicular or people mover
Currently, Johnston Road is the main pedestrian route from Uptown down to the waterfront, but there’s a lack of wayfinding signage and stairs and ramps need improvements to make traversing the steep incline safer.
Over the longer term, the city will study the feasibility of a funicular or another people-mover system to bring people from the waterfront to Uptown. As well as being functional, a funicular could become a new tourist attraction for the city and showcase views of the waterfront.
Further enhancement of the White Rock Pier
Repairs to White Rock’s iconic pier were completed last summer at a cost of $4 million after a major windstorm in December 2018 destroyed approximately 30 metres of the structure.
Now the city is considering further enhancements to the pier, including up to three viewpoints and rest areas along its length. They’re also keen to encourage a vendor “cart culture” on the pier, as well as opportunities for water tourism and public boating at the pier’s terminus.
Marine Drive as a “pedestrian first” zone
The city wants to improve the public realm along Marine Drive, particularly for those walking or cycling. Proposed improvements to the roadway as well as adjacent city-owned parking lots could include special overhead lighting, all-weather cover and canopies, sidewalk additions, parking reconfiguration, and flex-space lighting.
An “East Beach Landing” is also being considered — a wood deck area centred around a sculpture or fire pit — which would serve as a new meeting and social place along the waterfront. The landing would include a four-season shelter building, which could also serve as a storage area for items like movable chairs and umbrellas.
However, the city says “significant environmental and archeological constraints in the area, along with the need for BNSF approvals may make this concept challenging to implement.”
There’s a lot more ideas in the Waterfront Enhancement Strategy, with a draft of the report available to view here.
Feedback can also be shared at the survey available here.