The City of White Rock says comments by its planning and development services director regarding potential other uses for its under-construction parkade were taken out of context. (File photo)

Arts, sports ‘still options for White Rock parkade’

PAN misreported response: city

City of White Rock is disputing that comments made by its planning and development services manager – and reported by Peace Arch News – limit plans for the under-construction waterfront parkade to simply vehicle parking.

A July 13 article quoted Carl Johannsen responding to a question posed by resident Roderick Louis during a July 9 public hearing, asking whether things like farmers markets, sporting activities and art shows are still part of current plans for the parkade.

READ MORE: No arts, sports for White Rock parkade

Louis had reminded council that such ideas had been suggested by city staff during deliberations on the controversial project as potential options for unused space; acting mayor Megan Knight invited staff to comment.

“There were some ideas brought forward for potential off-season activities in the parkade, but my sense is that the parkade is being constructed for providing parking,” Johannsen responded.

After publication, Johannsen emailed PAN noting his comments “were not speaking to or indicating a specific new policy direction or policy direction change regarding potential other uses in the parkade.”

“The point I was making is that the parkade is being constructed first and foremost to provide more parking to support our waterfront businesses. That’s what the parkade is for,” Johannsen writes. “I didn’t actually say ‘no arts, sports’ for the parkade. As you know, the discussion in my July 2017 report noted a range of possible programming uses and was included in good faith by staff.

“The article also makes it seem that my comment ‘the parkade is for parking’ forever dispenses with all the potential arts/sports items listed in the report and repeated in your article. That is not the case and frankly not my call to make.”

A statement posted to the city’s website Friday reiterates the sentiment, explaining that Johannsen was “providing context in response to a question from a White Rock resident and the point he was making is that the Waterfront Parkade is being constructed first and foremost to provide more parking to support our waterfront businesses.”

Louis questioned why he was told at the hearing only that “the parkade is being constructed for providing parking.”

“Why didn’t any of them speak up and ‘correct’ Mr. Johannsen’s alleged misinformation?” Louis asked in an email.

PAN reached out to the city to confirm what, if any, design elements are being incorporated into the parkade to accommodate potential additional uses.

Tuesday, Johannsen confirmed there are no design changes required to accommodate additional programming.

“The parkade… can create opportunities for a range of programming options on the waterfront – including surface parking areas – in general,” Johannsen said.

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