WHITE ROCK (NEWS 1130) — The idea of temporary free parking around the pier in White Rock is getting a boost from the local business group and at least one councillor.
The White Rock Business Improvement Association is planning to present the idea to council soon in hopes of attract more traffic to the businesses on Marine Drive, following the destruction of the pier during December’s windstorm.
Alex Nixon with the BIA says his members are struggling to make lease payments. Attracting people to the area has always been a problem during the off-season, he says, but pay parking, coupled with on-going construction, and the storm that damaged the pier, has only made matters worse.
“It’s just startling to see the damage to the pier, and I think that brought into focus some of the real challenges the business are facing,” he says.
Coun. Helen Fathers is on-board with the idea and hopes council will approve a trial period, although she’s not sure yet where the money will come from.
She says temporarily suspending paid parking for a few months, possibly from February to April, could give businesses a much-needed boost by encouraging people to visit the area.
“I think it’s been pretty devastating for merchants down there, and I do think that critical times call for critical measures,” she says.”I think we’ve reached a stage that it’s extra hard for them.”
Allowing dogs on the pier is another part of the plan to get more traffic to the businesses at the pier. It’s something she has been pushing for every term on council, but so far has not been successful.
She is presenting the idea to council on Monday and this time, she’s hoping there will be more support because of the boost in business that could mean.
“On really bad days, horrible days, dog-walkers are only people out there,” she says. “It’s just the dog walkers of the world that are out there walking.”
One idea for parking rules she is suggesting could be allowing free parking only after 5 p.m. to encourage people to head to the area for dinner.