The city of White Rock is proposing a $30-million plan to renovate the city’s waterfront with a seaside walkway and features in hopes of fueling the city’s main tourism industry and drawing in more business for the local restaurants and bars.
Concept drawings originally posted by the Vancouver Sun show a 10-metre-high whale sculpture, a 180-metre seaside walkway and a park covering 6,500 square meters of land reclaimed from the ocean at a cost of $15 million.
There is also a marina expansion pegged at $850,000; $1 million for a memorial park; $2 million worth of seabed dredging; $300,000 for marine buoys; and $5.5 million for a waterfront parkade.
According to media reports, critics say the city that is home to just 20,000 residents can’t afford those kinds of expenses that add to the city’s $35-million yearly budget.
Mayor Wayne Baldwin told the Vancouver Sun that the money will not be coming out of taxpayers’ pockets. Instead, $13 million will come from fees expected to be payed by high-rise developers and additional funds are expected to come from government grants. He also added that shortfalls could be covered by cutting out things like the memorial park.
Baldwin also assured residents that the current proposed designs may not be exactly what the finished product will be like.
“I don’t even know if the whale is going to be there when we are finished,” he said.
Counselor Dave Chesney told the Vancouver Sun that there has been confusion among residents when it comes to the plan.
“One thing I can tell you,” Chesney said. “There won’t be a whale-spouting plaza. It was a pie-in-the-sky design. … People are right to ask questions. We’ve done a poor job of communicating as a council.”
We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.
Written by Luisa Alvarez
Featured photo: GoToVan / Flickr