British Columbia

White Rock pier repair costs soar to estimated $16M

A new report estimates it will cost up to $16 million to fix the White Rock pier, rather than $6 million as previously hoped.

City staff originally pegged cost at $5M-$6M; completion unlikely by end of summer

The damaged White Rock pier, one day after a powerful wind storm ripped it apart on Dec. 20. A new report passed to White Rock city council pegs the cost of repairing the structure at up to $16 million. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

A new report says fixing the collapsed White Rock pier could cost up to $16 million — about $10 million more than previously hoped.

The report from the city's engineering department said between $4.2 and $4.6 million is needed for immediate repairs alone. After that, it will take millions more to rebuild the half kilometre-long pier.

Reconstruction with a steel pile and concrete deck would cost $11.1 million, while a timber pile and deck would cost $9.2 million. On top of that, the report said, are additional costs like electricity, taxes, construction labour and cleanup.

A section of the pier collapsed after being hammered by loose boats in a severe windstorm on Dec. 20, 2018. Gusting wind tore the boats loose and sent them crashing into the 104-year-old pier.

A boat battered by waves slammed into the White Rock pier on Dec. 20, 2018. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Earlier this month, White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker said the city was unsure of how much of the cost would be covered by insurance.

He predicted a new pier would cost between $5 million and $6 million, plus $500,000 to fix the damaged promenade.

"We literally have to rebuild our shoreline along the promenade," said Walker, who said he's never seen such damage in the city in his 50 years as a resident.

"But, we want to do it once and do it right."

The mayor also said the city was working with the provincial and federal governments in an effort to find grant money to help repair the structure.

The report said the pier was insured for about $7 million.

Timeline for repairs

Walker has said he hoped to see the pier reopened by the end of summer, but now knowing the scope of work needed, he doesn't think that's likely.

"I'm still, in the back of my mind, thinking sometime in August we should be able to have something open down there, but at this point, I'm not certain and I couldn't tell you what that looks like," the mayor said.

Another factor in the repair timeline is a recommended work window from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), set out to minimize risk to fish and fish habitats that could come from construction work.

Boats were thrown ashore in the storm on Dec. 20. It took days to clean up the shoreline. (Micki Cowan/CBC)

The window for the Vancouver Area Inlet, which includes the pier, is only from Aug. 16 to Feb. 28 every year — so under that recommendation, the city couldn't work on the pier at all during the spring and summer.

The city doesn't need approval from the DFO to work outside the window, but Walker said he's going to ask for an exception anyway.

"If we can't get it, that means that we're going to have to do some work and then we're going to have to shut it down for a period of time [over the summer] and then bring barges in to do it again [in the fall]. So, effectively, it might be done, unfortunately, in two parts," the mayor said.

With files from Rhianna Schmunk

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