White Rock youth ambassadors spearhead effort to fundraise for pier

Campaign will focus on elements that may not be covered by government funding

While conversation was still buzzing throughout the Lower Mainland over extensive storm damage to their city’s iconic pier, White Rock Youth Ambassadors were already taking action on a fundraising campaign to help repair and restore the historic structure.

White Rock Princess and Friendship Ambassador Emma-Rose Harvey told Peace Arch News Thursday that within three to four hours of the Dec. 20 incident, all five of the ambassadors had responded to an email from coordinator Debbie Ward, suggesting they might be able to organize a pier-oriented community outreach project.

Harvey became point person in setting up a GoFundMe campaign that day to raise money for pier restoration efforts, with help from Ward and former (2010) Youth Ambassador Freda Zhang, who now works in public relations.

She described the campaign as “a real team effort” that involves Miss White Rock Snover Gill, Princess Sarah Zhang, and ambassadors Simrit Kocher and Sabrina Zeng.

“It’s a great opportunity to help with something that’s so important to the community,” Harvey said.

The ambassadors traditionally take on an outreach initiative each year, and Harvey is hoping that the current team can be involved in high-profile events focused on pier restoration in the new year.

“I think it’s so important for teenagers to be involved in the in the community,” said the Earl Marriott Secondary Grade 12 student, whose dream is to become an elementary school teacher in White Rock, hopefully following post-secondary studies at UVic.

“If you’re not involved when you’re young, it’s much harder to get going when you’re older.”

Seven days in, the campaign had raised $675, but Harvey said she believes momentum will increase when potential contributors can be assured that it is a “legitimate” fundraiser.

To that end, she said, Ward will be meeting with White Rock council to see if it can officially endorse the campaign, and also the Semiahmoo Rotary Club, to get advice onfundraising and issuing tax receipts – and the ambassadors also want to meet with council as soon as possible in the new year.

The campaign has already merged with another GoFundMe supporting pier restoration started by city resident Michelle Penner Ferguson.

“I’d already started my GoFundMe when I heard from somebody on Facebook that there was another one,” Ferguson said.

“I thought, ‘fantastic,’ so I connected with Debbie and we merged the campaigns,” she said, noting ironically that she had planned to participate in the Youth Ambassador program in 1988 – with sponsorship of a Rotary club – but had dropped out because it conflicted with a trip to Europe with her parents.

“It’s funny how, 30 years later, things work out,” she said, adding that the benefit of a GoFundMe campaign is that it can reach out to people all around the world who either grew up in White Rock, or lived in, or visited the city.

Harvey acknowledged that there have been “a couple” of negative comments on the site, which criticized the ambassadors efforts as “premature” and pointed out that repairs will involve municipal budgeting – and potentially federal and provincial help – that is already funded by taxpayers.

“We’re just a group of teenagers,” Harvey said, “but we’re hoping that, as we establish the legitimacy of the campaign, people will realize we’re just making an honest effort to help.”

While White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker has suggested publicly that repair and refurbishment of the more than 100-year-old structure will run into millions of dollars, Harvey said the ambassadors’ efforts will be focused on enhancing elements of the pier that are not covered by government funding.

“They are things like lights, archways, benches and memorial plaques, which were previously paid by for private donations,” she said.

Ward told PAN she had initial reservations about a GoFundMe campaign – mainly because she had little idea how they operate – but was won over by the ambassadors’ enthusiasm and has been heartened by the support of South Surrey-White Rock MP Gordie Hogg.

“He thought it was a terrific idea,” she said.

“They’re young people and they’re very much about social media – that’s the way they do things,” she added. “We value this enthusiasm, and the youth ambassadors have always been very involved in their community. I’ve no doubt that the process will be a very valuable learning experience for them.”’

“We feel really optimistic about it,” Gill told PAN.

“We have a very tight-knit community and, at the end of the day, everyone comes together to make things happen.

“I’m sure that in a short period of time we’ll get the pier back to the way it was before.”

For more information or to participate in the ambassadors’ campaign, visit https://www. gofundme.com/rebuild-the-historic-white-rock-pier

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

Just Posted

It’s election day in B.C. (Black Press files)
It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Sven Spichiger, Washington State Department of Agriculture managing entomologist, displays a canister of Asian giant hornets vacuumed from a nest in a tree behind him Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. Scientists in Washington state discovered the first nest earlier in the week of so-called murder hornets in the United States and worked to wipe it out Saturday morning to protect native honeybees. Workers with the state Agriculture Department spent weeks searching, trapping and using dental floss to tie tracking devices to Asian giant hornets, which can deliver painful stings to people and spit venom but are the biggest threat to honeybees that farmers depend on to pollinate crops. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Crews vacuum ‘murder hornets’ out of Washington nest, first-ever in U.S.

The nest found in the city of Blaine near the Canadian border is about the size of a basketball

Upgrades underway at the Sunnyside Reservoir, adjacent to Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest, raised concerns among some residents Tuesday (Oct. 20), however, stewards of the park say everything went off without a hitch. (Tracy Holmes photo)
‘No issue’ with South Surrey reservoir drainage, despite trail user concerns: urban forest steward

Forest visitor taken aback by ‘unprecedented flooding’ of trails

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Hydro map showing where power has been knocked out is dotted with over a dozen outages. (BC Hydro map screenshot)
Thousands without power in Lower Mainland on election day

One outage in Langley and Surrey is affecting over 4,000 customers

file
One dead after fiery crash near Agassiz

Agassiz RCMP report a 56-year-old man died Friday night

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

Most Read