Marine Drive lane closure for restaurant patios to end after businesses report losses

Jul 14 2021, 2:59 pm

The temporary closure of one vehicle lane over several blocks of Marine Drive in White Rock, providing restaurants with the ability to expand outdoor seating, will be short-lived.

The City of White Rock has signalled that it will fully reopen Marine Drive to two-way traffic as early as August 7, exactly two months after the westbound lane on the north side of the street was closed.

After receiving a request by the White Rock Business Improvement Association, city council approved measures of installing temporary protective barriers to enable restaurants along the strip to create safe outdoor patios. Restaurants at the time had been struggling from the provincial government’s reduced indoor dining capacity.

However, it was also stipulated by city council that the partial closure of Marine Drive would end once restaurants could return to full capacity indoors. That has now occurred, with Stage 3 of BC’s restart plan starting on July 1 allowing restaurants, bars, pubs, and nightclubs to operate at 100% capacity.

The eastbound lane of Marine Drive on the south side of the street remained open during the period, and TransLink buses that typically travel on the street were rerouted.

marine drive white rock waterfront closure

Marine Drive temporary configuration, Summer 2021. (City of White Rock)

During city council’s July 5 public meeting, nearly all of the business operators on Marine Drive who spoke to the elected body said they are opposed to the continuation of the lane closure, claiming it had the opposite intended effect on their operations.

Of the 10 business owners who participated in the discussions, only two were supportive of the temporary changes.

Montgomery’s Cottage Lunch asserted that their business was down 30% to 40% compared to the previous period.

Due to accessibility issues, others who were opposed and wanted the reopening of two-way traffic included ice cream parlour Heaven’s Angels, and restaurants Moby Dick and Whale’s Tale.

The operator for Marine Drive Liquor Store also told city council the lane closure resulted in a decrease in business, and made it difficult to accommodate deliveries.

Those expressing support were restaurants Zapoteca and Poultry In Motion.

The temporary lane closure carried a one-time installation cost of $50,000 and an equipment rental cost of about $40,000 per month. These costs will be fully covered by a portion of the provincial government’s COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant to the municipal government.

marine drive white rock waterfront closure

Marine Drive temporary configuration, Summer 2021. (City of White Rock)

marine drive white rock waterfront closure

Marine Drive temporary configuration, Summer 2021. (City of White Rock)

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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