White Rock's popularity as a destination places it in a difficult position in ensuring provincial health orders are followed, Coun. David Chesney said, asking that staff obtain impartial input from both Fraser Health and the Ministry of Health before further measures are debated. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Pandemic crowding on waterfront vexes White Rock council

Overcrowding, extra garbage the downside of take-out business

White Rock appears to be a victim of its own success as a destination – particularly in the current pandemic era.

The potential health hazards of both overcrowding, and the spillover effect of overflowing garbage containers on Marine Drive and along the promenade, were top of mind for White Rock council members Monday night (April 12).

The traditional popularity of the city has been impacted by a rise in take-out food consumption – particularly since current health orders banned dine-in options, they noted.

And Coun. David Chesney told council that related overcrowding, amid rising numbers of COVID-19 cases provincewide, is a problem council will have to deal with sooner than later.

“What I observed this past weekend was very little social distancing outside of the take-out places; the pier, the promenade, the parking lots were chockablock full, very few people were wearing masks, all of the tables in Memorial Park were full of people.

READ ALSO: White Rock reopens promenade, increases waterfront parking

“That’s a wonderful thing – in normal times. But these are not normal times… I think we need to start talking about this now,” he said.

“But before we enter into a conversation, or a discussion that’s passionate for all of us, I’d like to have some outside input, giving us some direction for what (health officials) feel, for the safety of our community, we should be following.”

Council unanimously endorsed Chesney’s motion asking staff to “report what measures the City should put in place, if any, to help address keeping with health orders during the pandemic at the waterfront.”

At the same time, it responded to residents’ complaints of overflowing garbage containers and refuse scattered on the streets by backing a motion from Coun. Christopher Trevelyan that the city add an extra shift to regular waterfront garbage collection throughout the rest of 2021 and into 2022.

The $60,000 cost for the extra shift will come out of federal/provincial COVID-19 relief funding to the city, Trevelyan noted in the motion.

Chesney said that while all council members are “passionate” about supporting waterfront business, receiving independent advice from provincial health officials and Fraser Health would be valuable before debating further steps to be taken.

“This past Easter long week-end our waterfront parking was full; all the patios were packed and the massive lineups for take-out service have caused great concern for many of our taxpaying residents,” he noted in the preamble to his motion.

“We’re in a very difficult position,” he told council. “I would like to have staff talking with Fraser Health and the Ministry of Health to have an impartial overview and report back to us.

“Our waterfront has become a huge destination,” he added.

“If any council members were down there on the weekend, and even not just the weekend, the crowds, the parking lots were full, the parkade only had 40 to 50 spots. (It shows) the high demand of people wanting to come to our community; to get out of their community and come and get some fresh air and some fish and chips, or whatever they (want) to do.”

In his motion to add an extra shift to garbage collection on the waterfront, Trevelyan added the step should be reviewed on a year-to-year basis.

“We’ve all heard a lot of complaints about garbage on the promenade and Marine Drive, also the east side of the city out (toward) the Washington Avenue Grill,” Trevelyan noted, in introducing his motion.

He wondered whether the federal/provincial COVID-19 funding could be used for the purpose, “when you factor in that much of the extra garbage we’re seeing is due to take-out from restaurants due to COVID, and elimination of in-person dining.”

Chief administrative officer Guillermo Ferrero, engineering and municipal operations director Jim Gordon and financial services director Colleen Ponzini all said they believed the extra garbage collection would be a legitimate use of the funding.

In answer to a question from Trevelyan, Gordon said the contractor was doing all that was required under the terms of the contract, “but we’re not really keeping up right now.”

He suggested that adding a four-hour shift in the late afternoon and early evening would do much to lessen the accumulation of garbage being found first thing each morning.

“With an extra shift, we should be able to get that garbage before it sits all all night and gets spread out,” he said.

City of White RockCoronavirus

Just Posted

(Black Press Media file)
VIDEO: Langley RCMP officer takes down robbery suspect

Brookswood residents impressed by police response to backyard bandit

Vancouver Giants head coach Michael Dyck will be joining Team Canada as an Assistant Coach for the 2021 IIHF World Championships(Rob Wilton/special to Langley Advance Times)
Vancouver Giants head coach Michael Dyck named to Team Canada

Will be assistant Coach at 2021 IIHF World Championships

Langley’s Drew Mechielsen, seen here in a 2018 race, is back on the track with the resumption of international-level racing in Verona, Italy. (file)
VIDEO: Langley’s Mechielsen top Canadian at Verona BMX competition

Sport has been on hold for more than a year due to pandemic

The ER nurses, doctors, and medical technicians at Langley Memorial Hospital in front of the mural on the new admitting bay. The ER opened at the beginning of May after years of fundraising and construction. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Natural light and bigger facilities are a big difference

The new emergency room at Langley Memorial Hospital is busy with doctors,… Continue reading

A new mural was painted on a wall in Salt Lane May 14, 2021, by Fort Langley artist Alex Stewart. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Langley City brick wall sprouts flora

Alex Stewart painted his third mural in the downtown core

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10 million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

Linda Annis, executive director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers, at press conference Monday. (Submitted photo)
Crime Stoppers receiving $200K from province for ‘Guns and Gangs’ tip line campaign

Executive director Linda Annis broke the news Monday morning in Surrey

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10 million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

(Vancouver Police Department)
Vancouver police ID 6 gangsters who pose a ‘public safety risk,’ launch gang task force

VPD asking public to stay away from these six people, who they say may be targeted in shootings

B.C. Wildfire Services shows a fire on Chehalis Forest Service Road as of Sunday, May 16, 2021. (BC Fire Services)
10-hectare fire near Harrison Mills rages out of control as second blaze ignites

A second fire burns near Silver River on east side of Harrison Lake

(Kamloops This Week)
Puppy’s home in question as BC Supreme Court considers canine clash

Justice Joel Groves granted an injunction prohibiting the sale or transfer of the dog

Most Read