British Columbia

Warm weather brings tourists back to White Rock

There are once again signs of life along White Rock's Marine Drive strip.

No one is happier about this recent stretch of sunshine than business owners along the Marine Drive strip

Many visitors from the United States visited the White Rock strip during the Memorial Day long weekend. (Jesse Johnston/CBC)

There are once again signs of life along White Rock's Marine Drive strip.

On Monday afternoon, parking lots were packed with cars and restaurant patios were crammed with people.

It was a welcome sight for business owners who have been struggling this year.

"In the winter months, of course, it slows down, but, finally, we had two very nice weekends," said Oleg Berezhnov, who runs Bella's Miracle Shop with his wife.

"Victoria Day long weekend was amazing, and we got lots of customers. This weekend, too."

Berezhnov says it's encouraging to see so many visitors in the area, especially after several of his neighbours were forced to close their businesses in recent months.

Many of them complained that expensive parking and lousy weather drove away their customers and forced them to close their doors.

In recent months, however, a handful of new restaurants and shops have started to move into the neighbourhood.

Berezhnov says he's also benefited from a weak Canadian dollar that has lured American visitors to White Rock and kept locals away from Washington State.

He says he spotted dozens of U.S. licence plates over the Memorial Day long weekend.

"We do have about 10 percent of our customers that are American."

Patios were packed Monday afternoon along the White Rock strip. (Jesse Johnston/CBC)

Task force

There was so much concern about businesses leaving the strip that a task force was created earlier this year.

The team is looking at new ways to breathe some new life into the area, including a summer concert series on the waterfront.

Three months after the team was formed, things seem to be looking up.

"This is our bread and butter season, so this is the time when everybody visits White Rock," said White Rock Business Improvement Association executive director Jennifer Brandon.

"That's where people think of to go when it's sunny out, so, as soon as the sun comes out, you can see the difference."