British Columbia

White Rock pier smashed by storm will likely reopen in late August, says mayor

White Rock mayor Darryl Walker says the pier destroyed in a powerful storm in late December may not be repaired until the end of August.

New pier could cost between $5 and $6 million, not including contingency funds

A look at the damaged White Rock pier a day after a powerful windstorm ripped it apart. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

White Rock mayor Darryl Walker says the pier severely damaged by a powerful storm in late December may not be repaired until the end of August.

In a video message posted on the city of White Rock website, Walker said the city hopes to start repair work on the pier within the next month and that planners are looking at designs to reconstruct it.

He said that following preliminary studies, the city hopes to have the promenade that leads from the pier to White Rock open by mid to late February.

"I know it seems like a long time away, and I know it's going to be very difficult for especially the business owners on Marine Drive to hear this news," he said.

Tyler Legear runs the eatery, Localz on Marine. He says the pier was a major draw for business. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

Business owners in the area are indeed unhappy with the news, especially since many say ongoing redevelopment was already impacting their livelihoods.

"Icing on the cake for everything else, just another obstacle' said Tyler Legear, who runs the restaurant Localz on Marine. "We lost our only draw really ... it's gone."

A person had to be rescued from the White Rock pier after it was partially destroyed in a December windstorm. (Submitted by Max McGratten)

Walker says the city plans to work with restaurant owners to find special events to bring patrons to their restaurants and the community. Legear made a direct appeal to patrons.

"If you like the restaurants down here, if you like the businesses, you've got to make your way down, try and support us, otherwise you're going to see some more closed doors," he said Saturday.

Improvements anticipated

The pier, on Semiahmoo Bay in the 15000 block of Marine Drive, was overtaken by powerful waves on Dec. 20 and ripped apart. The shoreline was also damaged after being battered by the waves.

Walker said the plan is to reconstruct the pier to resemble what it did before, with some improvements.

"We may actually do some extra restorations which will deal with issues such as climate change," said Walker.

White Rock's annual New Years Day Polar Bear Swim was cancelled this year because of the damage. (City of White Rock)

Walker says more storms, such as the one on Dec. 20 are expected in the future so the pier should be built to guard against that possibility.

"We want to know that we can protect the pier now and in the long term," he said.

Alex Nixon, who speaks for the Business Improvement Association hopes that all the construction will have a minimal impact on transportation to area, so people will still visit.

"To come out to support our local businesses, they are so integral to our community," he said.

Alex Nixon with the Business Improvement Association in White Rock hopes the rebuilding of the pier will not negatively impact local businesses. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

Covering costs

Walker said the city is unsure how much of the reconstruction will be covered by insurance, and predicted the city will bear 10 to 15 per cent of the costs. 

The new pier could cost between $5 and $6 million, not including contingency funds, plus $500,000 for the promenade, he said in the video.

The city of White Rock is also working with the provincial and federal governments to find grant money to help repair the structure.

Although it may look safe, Walker said there are stray wires from lamp standards lying around and boats still jammed underneath pilings at the pier. Wind and waves damaged the shoreline, potentially undercutting the promenade.

"We literally have to rebuild our shoreline along the promenade," he said.

White Rock Pier and Canadian Legion building circa 1948. (Treasures from the Past)

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