The City of White Rock is reviving a never-implemented 2014 conceptual plan for a hillside pedestrian corridor linking Columbia Street and Marine Drive.
At its March 8 meeting, council unanimously endorsed moving ahead with the long-delayed Centre Street Walkway, and using $900,000 in community amenity contributions (CACs) from recent development projects to pay for a preliminary design, budget and schedule for construction.
Subject of a task force throughout 2014 — following up on a motion originally passed in December 2013 — the plan calls for construction and landscaping work to improve the accessibility and safe usage of the steeply-sloping road allowance which offers views of Semiahmoo Bay.
Developed in consultation with residents who live adjacent to the walkway, the original concept was drafted with the idea of formalizing existing stairs, terraces and walkways, opening up more park and green space, providing an opportunity for public art, and enhancing already-used pedestrian linkages and thoroughfares.
Cost of the project, originally estimated at $800,000, has been adjusted to allow for inflation, according to a report to council from engineering and municipal operations director Jim Gordon.
Gordon explained that it had been brought forward as a result of a recent session in which council examined potential CAC projects and that the city still has the conceptual designs for the project.
He noted there had been “extensive community consultation” at the time the idea was first developed.
“I’m not sure why, but it did not get approved.”
Coun. Helen Fathers, who has championed the project, noted that it had council support when first suggested, but was later superseded by a focus on redeveloping Memorial Park and building the waterfront parkade.
“That’s what the council of the day chose to go for at that time,” she said. “I’m happy to see the Centre Street project back on the books.”
“This is money well-spent – I think residents are going to be thrilled with the result,” Coun. Scott Kristjanson said.
“It would be a challenge to do the project this year,” Gordon told council.
“But certainly, if council approves this, we will give every effort to this project – start with a preliminary design, hire a project manager and get started as soon as possible.”