WHITE ROCK (NEWS 1130) — The White Rock Pier severely damaged by the storm won’t be opening until the end of the summer, and the mayor expects it will cost more than $5.6 million to make repairs.
The major windstorm in December left a major hole in the pier and badly damaged the promenade and shoreline. Mayor Darryl Walker says repair work will take some time to complete because of the extent of the damage. The city says it could cost between $5 million to $6 million to fix the pier, and another $600,000 to fix the shoreline.
He says he doesn’t expect the pier to be fully fixed until the end of August, but hopes the promenade can be partially opened by mid- to late-February.
“We literally have to re-build our shoreline along the promenade,” he says. “By mid- to late- February we hope to have at least to the White Rock opened up, and then we intend to prioritize working to the east down towards the end of the hump and on towards what will be First Nations’ land.”
Even though they don't have all the funding figured out, Mayor Darryl Walker is promising the pier will be fixed:
"I will tell you right now that the pier will be replaced, and we will start working on it as soon as we possibly can." @NEWS1130
— Lauren Boothby (@laurby) January 5, 2019
In a video statement posted to the city’s website, he says they have done some preliminary studies to give them an idea about the extent of the damage. The city is also looking at some pier designs and hopes to begin repairs within the next month.
“We want to take it back to very close to what it was in the past, we may actually do some extra restorations which may do away with issues such as climate change,” he says. “We expect more and more storms such as the one we had on the 20th of December to come into our community, and we want to know that we can protect the pier now and in the long-term.”
He says the city does have insurance but they aren’t sure how much they will be able to recover. He adds they are working with provincial and federal governments to find grant money.
Even with those uncertainties, he says the iconic pier will be fixed.
“I will tell you right now that the pier will be replaced, and we will start working on it as soon as we possibly can, and we hope to have something up and running, and an opening for the pier, some time in the latter part of August.”
He knows it will be an unwelcome timeline for business owners, but says the city will work with restaurant owners to find special events to get people into the community.
WATCH: People warned to stay away from White Rock pier
But until those repairs are made, he’s warning people to continue to stay away until it’s safe.
“There are still boats that are jammed underneath pilings at the pier, making it not only dangerous to be anywhere near the pier, but also on the shoreline down there,” he says in a video posted on the city’s website. “These are large vessels that could move at any time.”
He hope the boats will be removed by the end of next week.
As for the barricades, he says they are still there because the area is unstable and dangerous. For instance, there are some wires from lamp standards that were washed away may still be live.
“Stay away from the logs and other debris that has been put up on the promenade: this has been put up for your own good and your own safety,” he says.
Walker says repairs could mean there will be extra restorations done to the pier to prepare it to withstand severe weather as these kinds of conditions could become common as climate change progresses.
The windstorm on December 20 has been called the “most damaging” in BC Hydro’s history, with more than 750,000 customers left in the dark at the peak of the storm.