White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker with nine-year-old Juliet Sinclair, the daughter of Semiahmoo First Nation Councillor Jennine Cook, help cut the ribbon with Surrey-Panorama MLA Jinny Sims to officially reopen the pier Saturday, Sept. 21. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

City of White Rock hosts official pier reopening

Event included ribbon-cutting, speeches, live music

Nine months after the White Rock pier was split in half, it has officially reopened.

The City of White Rock hosted the official reopening of the iconic pier Saturday (Sept. 21) at the white rock. The event included speeches and a walk down the promenade to the pier for the ribbon-cutting. The was a less-official opening on Aug. 27.

READ ALSO: White Rock Pier reopens 250 days after being destroyed in winter storm, Aug, 27, 2019

“It was damaged to what some said was beyond repair – not so. We knew immediately that the people of this community, both South Surrey and White Rock would not have it, and we immediately began the work of actually reproducing and building on it again,” said White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker of the Dec. 20, 2018 storm, highlighting the 100 km/h winds and king tide.

He said it did “what everybody thought couldn’t happen — there was a whole in the pier.”

A section of the pier, which has stood in some form for 100 years, was destroyed a combination of high winds and a king tide.

The wharf, which was holding secure approximately two dozen sailboats, was ripped from the west end of the pier and ended up ramming into the mid-section of the structure.

The attached sailboats and wharf acted as a battering ram, slowly breaking away the pier while one man was stranded on the far side.

Walker said the man, who was fortunately saved uninjured, “will go down in history.”

READ ALSO: White Rock pier destroyed by storm, stranded man rescued, Dec. 20, 2018

Walker said the city is still in the process of repairing East and West beaches.

“You’ll have to know, that cost us about $4.3 million,” said Walker, referring to the pier repair. “To make up the rest of the pier, make it better and stronger like our centre, is going to cost us $11.6 additional dollars. We don’t have that now, but we along with Friends of the Pier, along with the provincial and federal governments to make sure that money is made available. When we have it, that pier will be redone in a way that no storm will ever touch it again.”

Instead of the more costly option of rebuilding the entire pier with concrete and steel in one go, – at an estimated cost of $16 million – the city went forward with a scaled-down fix, replacing only the damaged section of the pier for about $5 million.

Friends of the Pier formed in late April, with the goal of raising $2 million to help cover a projected shortfall once insurance and potential contributions from other levels of government, as well as a withdrawal from the city’s reserves, were taken into account.

Stewart Peddemors, a committee member with Friends of the Pier said the city and everyone helping to contribute to the pier’s rebuilding “have come a long way since Dec. 20.”

“I didn’t expect to be standing here nine months later,” Peddemors said.

Through Friends of the Pier, people can buy one of the 1,300 wooden decking planks to help raise the remaining funds.

“You could say we’re trying to rebuild the pier one plank at a time.”

At the end of his speech Walker said he was “thrilled” to open Canada’s longest pier. However in 2015, the city determined there was a longer one in Quebec.

“If somebody wants to come and see us, they can talk to us about it, but we’re pretty much sure we’re on solid grounds there.”

READ ALSO: White Rock pier comes up short for title of Canada’s longest, March 4, 2015

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