vision (city, archived)

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

This page will keep a running list of projects or initiatives or developments that I believe would be of great benefit to the City of White Rock.

International Cycling Destination
Imagine a cycling path that stretches from Bellingham, through White Rock, to Tsawwassen. You could ride to Tsawwassen, jump on a BC ferry, cycle to Victoria, catch a Washington ferry through the San Juan Islands to Bellingham, and peddle back to White Rock.

This would be a fantastic tourism draw that would bring people to White Rock without their cars. It would be a brilliant option rivalling the Kettle Valley Railway and other popular adventure bicycle trails.

Trash to Cash
We should be making money by generating electricity from the water in our pipes, gasifying our dry carbon-based garbage, composting our wet organic garbage, and ensuring all saleable commodities are recycled, not buried. This would not require White Rock to be all that innovative or inventive. We would be following the lead of local trailblazers like North Vancouver, West Vancouver and Squamish.

Sure, it would be very environmentally friendly, but it would also make lots of money. Let’s stop wasting the resources we have available to us and start converting it into money. That revenue could be used to advance projects to make our community an even better place to live without having to raise property taxes to pay for it.

Walk (and Drive) the Talk
We all know how beneficial it is to our health, environment, and economy to use energy more efficiently. The City of White Rock can demonstrate to its citizens how to be energy conscious with their cars. As vehicles in the City fleet are replaced, only hybrid and electrical vehicles should be purchased; diesel fuel should be switched to biodiesel.

These changes are inevitable anyway, and there is really no reason to wait. The technology already exists; the only impediment to acceptance is attitude and inertia. Our fleet would have a much smaller impact on the environment and cheaper to operate. The greatest investment will simply be the effort of getting used to something different.

The City’s fleet should use electric, hydrid, or biodeisel powered vehicles and equipment whenever possible.

Waterfront Parks Instead of Parking Lots
Why do cars take up some of the best spots on the beach?

Imagine what an incredible place White Rock’s waterfront would be if all that asphalt there now were grass fields, meadows, bicycle and rollerblading lanes, picnic tables,… imagine it were a place for people instead of cars.

Enchanting city in a forest, by the sea
This could feel as though there is a city within a forest; buildings and streets inside a forest.

Not only is this what is perfectly natural for this corner of the coast, it is perfectly in keeping with the green appeal that drew so many people to live here in the first place. The green character of this community is valued by almost everyone who lives or visits here.

Let’s honour the natural appeal of White Rock by protecting existing trees and planting more. Let’s see the trees for the forest. Let’s be an enchanting city within the forest, by the sea.

Engaged Community
It should be easy for people to learn about and share ideas about their community in their day-to-day life. Citizens shouldn’t have to be political zealots to know how to find answers to questions or feel like civic decision-makers are listening. Rather expecting people to conform to the way the City does things, I want the City to adapt to make civic engagement fit into people’s lives.

These are some things that might be options:

• expand the Leisure Guide to become a City Guide city newspaper or magazine;

• install community bulletin boards so that people can read City notices and post notices in public places;

• open-agenda town hall meetings for people to ask questions and learn about things they want to know more about;

• televised department reports to give City managers a chance to talk about things that are working well or show progress on past issues;

• televised question and answer periods would allow people watching at home to hear the answers to question period inquiries, which are currently normally provided in writing;

• stronger communication links with local community and government agencies so the City can ensure its services are well-coordinated or cross-promoted.

As a collection, I think these kinds of things would take us a long ways towards a community in which people feel welcome and respected, and understand the decisions made that affect them.

Smoke-free by 2010
All public spaces – indoor and outdoor – should be smoke-free by 2010. This would allow businesses a transition period and give advance notice of the change so that it isn’t a surprise to citizens and visitors. Some measures should be implemented each year leading up to the year 2010.

There is huge demand for boat moorage – waiting lists all down the coast. I’ve been told that “the longer the boat, the longer the list.” Boats are an attraction. People enjoy walking along a pier or promenade looking at boats.

I think White Rock should develop a marina at the end of the pier. It must be carefully planned and use the latest technologies to ensure the environment is protected. I suspect that a well-designed marina would actually be an improvement for the environment.

The current boat moorage is in a very sensitive area. Docks south of the breakwater would allow for boats to be stored in a much less delicate place. Removing the current boat moorage would also reduce the potential for conflict between boats and swimmers and kayakers.

There are technologies that have been developed and are being used successfully in other parts of the world to reduce the environmental impact of marinas. Installing a floating breakwater, sanitary sewer service, potable water, and electric power – I believe that an objective assessment would find that this type of development would actually be an environmental benefit when compared to the boat moorage that’s at the end of the pier now.

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