The White Rock promenade remains open for the time being after council voted Monday night to close the pier to the public. (File photo)

White Rock council votes to close pier to the public amid COVID-19 concerns

Mayor, councillors will keep eye on promenade for time being and meet weekly during crisis

In the wake of closing Marine Drive parking lots and the waterfront parkade, White Rock council has taken the further step of closing the city’s iconic pier to the public.

READ MORE: City of White Rock to close waterfront parking lots to help slow spread of COVID-19

READ MORE: White Rock pier, promenade closure could be ‘plan B’ – mayor

At a special meeting late Monday afternoon to review measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, council unanimously supported a motion from Coun. Christopher Trevelyan to close the pier temporarily until further notice.

“Everyone across the world is shutting down their major attractions, period, full stop,” Trevelyan said.

“Everyone keeps telling us at the highest levels of health authorities that we’re at the beginning of this, where we are, and the actions we take now will have reverberations down the road.

“I know the parking will have a huge impact, but still…I really do think we might want to send a message that we’re very serious, that it’s not business as usual. Now is the time to make the big gesture that we’re serious about encouraging people to stay home… I’d rather be over-reactive than under-reactive at this time.”

Also carried was a motion from Coun. Scott Kristjanson that the promenade be closely monitored with an eye to closing it if social distancing is not observed – delegated to Mayor Darryl Walker should he decide it was necessary – although Walker, himself, and Couns. Erika Johanson and Anthony Manning voted against the measure.

Chief administrative officer Dan Bottrill had told council that it would be relatively easy to close the pier to foot traffic, although he was adamant that the city does not have the resources to close off the promenade to those who wanted to access it.

He added this would be a different situation than the closure of the promenade during repair work following the disastrous December 2018 storm, as the presence of workers then made it easier to monitor and regulate, as a construction zone.

All councillors who spoke had high praise for the decision reached by Walker and Bottrill on Sunday to close the waterfront parking lots, which they said has already significantly reduced foot traffic and improved efforts to maintain social distancing.

Council has also decided to meet weekly for the foreseeable future during the current crisis, while a bylaw given first, second and third readings Monday will allow committee members to participate remotely, with only the chair of each committee present at council chambers.

More to come…

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