British Columbia

Her great grandfather helped build the White Rock pier. 100 years later, she's anxious to see it fixed

Two weeks after a powerful wind storm left a hole the size of a Boeing 737 in the middle of the White Rock pier, the community is getting anxious about how long it will take to fix their broken landmark.

Landmark was badly damaged during a powerful windstorm on Dec. 20

White Rock resident Lynda Honing says the pier is one of the most significant landmarks in the city. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

Two weeks after a powerful windstorm left a hole the size of a Boeing 737 in the middle of the White Rock pier, the community is getting anxious about how long it will take to fix their broken landmark.

Longtime resident Lynda Honing says her heart sinks every time she looks out on the water.

"It's an icon for White Rock," she said.

"We need to rebuild it because it's a place where everybody goes."

It seems like everyone in White Rock has a memory about the pier — a family walk, a first kiss or even a marriage proposal — but Honing's connection runs deeper than most.

Her great grandfather Peter Greyell was part of the crew that built the pier more than a century ago.

"I don't know much about him other than he was a builder," she said.

"I don't know if it's genetic but I like to build things, too."

The mayor of White Rock says an engineering assessment is underway to determine whether the pier can be repaired or has to be rebuilt. (City of White Rock)

The cleanup

The city has put up barricades to keep people away from the waterfront, which remains covered in debris that has washed up onshore.

It's still a mess and Honing questions why it's taking so long to clean up.

"Not a lot of action has been taken yet," she said. "You go down there and you see there are still sailboats on the beach."

Mayor Darryl Walker says city crews are working to make the area safe again, but it's a big job that's going to take some time.

As for the pier, Walker says they still don't know if it can be repaired or if they're looking at a complete rebuild.

"We won't know that until we get a proper engineering assessment," he said. "That's something, I believe, that we're in the process of setting up."

Walker says until that assessment is completed, it's impossible to know how big the repair bill will be and how long the rebuild will take.

The damaged White Rock pier a day after the storm. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Demand for pictures

Meanwhile, the sight of the battered structure continues to move both residents and visitors.

Photographer Ric Wallace was snapping pictures on the waterfront on Dec. 20 as loose boats smashed through the pier.

Wallace sells prints and photographs on the promenade and says he can hardly keep up with demand for photos.

"They want any photograph of the pier — either the mess we have now or any previous photos of beautiful sunsets or sunrises," he said.

"This is a historic event."

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