In January 2017, White Rock’s Marine Drive Waterfront experienced a negative media storm of shocking proportion that characterized the waterfront as “dead” and “a ghost town.” With more than 10 vacant units, many business owners and guests reflected that the situation has progressively gotten worse in the business district. It was a real wake-up call for everyone.
At the beginning of February, White Rock City Council decided to strike a Marine Drive Business Task Force to address the problems that have led to business closures and guest numbers dropping.
At the same time, the White Rock Business Improvement Association and the South Surrey White Rock Chamber of Commerce were developing the framework for their own business stakeholder outreach along Marine Drive.
The City recognized that this might be an opportunity for the business associations to bring the information back to the Council in a timely manner. The BIA and Chamber agreed to take on the project of creating the Marine Drive Waterfront Task Force, with the City encouraging the efforts and eager to learn of the findings.
The BIA and Chamber set to work. The two organizations met to determine the best strategy to roll out the project and get the most buy-in and participation from the businesses and the property owners along Marine Drive.
At the end of the meeting, the structure of the study was agreed as follows:
- Objective: To create a vibrant business environment on Marine Drive
- Fact finding: There would be an open-invitation meeting for the waterfront merchants, a meeting for property owners and leasing agents, and outreach to the general public to get their feedback.
- Solution development: Meeting of the Task Force to develop recommendations and prioritize them