A White Rock RCMP officer speaks to Peter Gunstone Friday morning, after pier visitors reported a man tying his sailboat to the structure. (Tracy Holmes photo)

City workers, police called after sailboat owner ties up to middle of White Rock Pier

Boat owner says manoeuvre that left craft high and dry was intentional, ‘not a threat’

Reports of a boater tying up to White Rock Pier – not far from the pierhead – brought police and city workers to the waterfront Friday (June 26).

City workers said they were alerted to the issue at around 10:45 a.m., and said the situation raised concerns for public safety, as well as the potential for damage to the pier.

“It looks pretty derelict, we just don’t want it to fall on anyone,” one of the workers said.

The worker said crews untied the craft – which was unattended on the east side of the pier when they arrived at the scene at around 10:45 a.m. – from the pier, and secured it temporarily to hold it away from the structure. A salvage company was called to assess whether it could be towed out.

Jeremy Birch of Mad Props Marine said nothing could be done until high tide, around 10 p.m.

“This is here all day,” he said.

Birch, noting his company spent 25 days helping with the cleanup effort that followed the December 2018 storm that damaged the pier, said while the situation was stable when he arrived at around 12:30 p.m., given the changing conditions, it “could become very easily a hazard.”

“We’ve got some winds coming tonight,” Birch said.

READ MORE: VIDEO: White Rock pier destroyed by storm, stranded man rescued

A man who identified himself as the boat owner returned to the scene around noon. Advised by the city workers that a salvage crew was coming to tow it out to the dock, Peter Gunstone replied, “nobody’s touching this boat.”

Gunstone continued to decline assistance with the craft, including after speaking with RCMP.

He told Peace Arch News that he and his girlfriend René Braun had sailed from the Nicomekl River area. He made the intentional stop and connection to the pier in hopes he could tip the 26-foot boat towards it and use the structure to better access a tangled Canadian flag at the top of his craft’s mast, he said.

“I put it right here,” he said. “I was hoping to use the pier as my tool to help a mariner.

“I’m not stuck,” he continued. “I’m right where I want to be.”

Gunstone said his boat was not a threat, and that the couple would float away on it when the tide came in.

In a statement to PAN Friday afternoon, city chief administrative officer Guillermo Ferrero said staff “are now managing the boat, moving it to shore and having it relocated.”

“An RCMP officer was on the Pier earlier to ensure crowds didn’t gather. Bylaw Enforcement is now at the Pier to ensure people continue moving and are not gathering,” Ferrero added.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

RCMPWhite Rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rugby practices to return to Lower Mainland fields this fall

B.C. Rugby announced its return to play plan July 7

Despite what our editorial urged, councillors cannot be named to police board

In fact, Section 24 of BC Police Act aims to insulate police board from local politics

South Surrey veteran honoured by South Korea as Ambassador for Peace

Medal presented to Donald McClellan an ‘expression of gratitude’ for service during Korean War

North Delta yoga studio’s Fridays at the Farm to benefit local animal sanctuary

The outdoor four-class series will benefit Perfect Pastures Animal Sanctuary in Ladner

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Mayors welcome rideshare expansion to eastern Lower Mainland

As of Thursday, Lyft is now offering service throughout Metro Vancouver

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Most Read