Close to a year after a windstorm sent boats smashing into the White Rock Pier, causing it to collapse in the centre, supporters gathered to receive certificates of appreciation for their donations to help rebuild the span through a fundraiser organized by Friends of the Pier.
Committee member Morley Myren and Jim Purcell, past-president of the Semiahmoo Rotary club, braved a blustery day to personally thank donors who gave $1,000 each to buy a plank on the pier’s rebuilt centre span.
“There are 1,300 planks that we want to sell to raise money to continue the pier rebuild and we’ve sold over 200,” said Myren. Each plank carries a plaque with the donor’s name.
The pier, built in 1914-15, is owned by the City of White Rock. Although insurance and funding from various levels of government covered much of the repair to the 30-metre section destroyed in the storm, the city wants to complete further enhancements, said Purcell.
Piles were changed to steel with a concrete substructure below the timber planks, and will be strong enough to withstand storm surges and earthquakes, and support emergency vehicles.
“The pier is iconic and represents the city,” said Purcell.
For artist Larissa Walkiw, who creates her intricate designs in the sand just below the pier throughout the summer, making a donation to purchase a plank in the name of her artistic endeavours, Pierdoodles, was a no-brainer.
“The pier is the perfect spot to do the artwork, and the pier itself is a major aspect of the art because people stand 30 feet up to see them,” said Walkiw.
She remembers the day after the storm as surreal and heartbreaking.
“This is where I come to make art, to walk and jog and think. It’s a special place,” she said.
Photographer Geoffrey Yue said: “I grew up coming out here with my family since 1967 and it’s a real honour to contribute and see my family’s name out there.”
White Rock Coun. Scott Kristjanson, who also bought a plank, said: “It just gives me goosebumps to see how the whole community has come together over this.”
The pier reopened after partial repairs on the 30-m section that was destroyed were completed in August, but further enhancements to bring the remaining two-thirds of the pier up to code will cost another $12 million-13 million, said Kristjanson.
The pier reopened to the public in August 2019, and is the longest pier in Canada. Anyone interested in buying a plank can go to friendsofthepier.com