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'It is White Rock': Fans of iconic pier say higher-than-expected repair costs are worth it

Last Updated Jan 25, 2019 at 8:42 am PDT

FILE: A boat is battered by waves and slammed into the White Rock Pier that was severely damaged during a windstorm, in White Rock, B.C., on Thursday December 20, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Summary

New estimates to reconstruct the White Rock pier are between around $14 and $16 million

Between $4.2 and $4.6 million are needed for immediate repairs

Repairs will have to happen quickly or they won't be finished in the allowed construction window by DFO

WHITE ROCK (NEWS 1130) — Reconstructing the White Rock pier following December’s windstorm is going to be an expensive undertaking.

A new report from White Rock’s engineering department estimates between roughly $14 and $16 million is needed for reconstruction. Between $4.2 and $4.6 million will be needed to cover immediate repairs.

The new figure comes from Westmar Advisors, the company hired to evaluate the damage done to the pier during the December 20 storm, according to a report by the engineering department.

The estimated cost is $11.1 million to build a steel pile and concrete deck, or $9.2 million for timber pile and deck, plus other expenses including electricity, cleaning up debris, construction and taxes. Although the pier was insured, it was only covered for about $7 million.

RELATED: Total rebuild of damaged White Rock Pier not out of the question, city’s mayor says

This figure doesn’t include costs to fix the marina or the west wharf, and those repairs can’t happen this year because of construction timelines allowed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) for work in those waters.

And the repairs to the main pier will have to move quickly to meet construction deadlines set by the DFO, or they won’t be done by the end of August, according to the report.

“It will be challenging to construct the immediate necessary repairs this year due to the Fisheries Window. Reconstruction of the remainder of the Pier to a modern standard will need to be scheduled for subsequent winter construction seasons unless the Fisheries Window can be extended,” reads the report.

‘It is White Rock’

The White Rock Pier has been a place for locals and visitors to swim, fish, and experience breathtaking views of the ocean.

Repairing the popular pier will now cost the city much more than anticipated, but fans of the landmark say it’s worth every penny.

“It’s a treat, because other places don’t have the waters,” Anya, who lives in White Rock, tells NEWS 1130. “It’s always been there. [The pier] is White Rock.”

She says the pier is “just part of White Rock,” and has been for some time.

“I grew up in Richmond, so I would come with my parents, and we’d go there, watch people jump off and go swimming… It’s just part of the city.”

The White Rock pier has been scheduled to re-open at the end of August, but now it’s uncertain whether they will be able to meet that deadline.

This has some people worried about businesses along the Promenade.

“There’s less traffic for the people around there for shopping,” one man says. “I mean, it’s nice to get it back, but what can you do, right?

Further reconstruction needed

After the damaged part of the pier is repaired, more work will still be needed to make it safe.

According to the report, the pier will be vulnerable to earthquakes, storm damage from debris in the water, and sea levels rising.

But construction on this part won’t be able to happen until the fall of 2019 unless the DFO grants the City an exception.

Construction on the marina and west wharf won’t be able to happen until next year.

Engineering report on White Rock Pier (p.29-35)
white rock pier


– With files from Lasia Kretzel