A mended White Rock pier has reopened to the public.
More than eight months after the much-loved landmark was partly destroyed in a winter windstorm, the last construction fence was dragged away to open the walkway at 11 a.m. PT on Tuesday.
The wooden planks, a replacement section noticeably darker than older sun-bleached slats, quickly filled with visitors taking a walk under a cloudless blue sky. Teenagers leapt off the end of the pier into the ocean below, and children squealed barefoot up and down ramps leading to a fishing dock as their parents chatted.
A chunk of the pier, the longest of its kind in Canada, collapsed entirely when sailboats ripped loose by a fierce windstorm crashed into the wooden boardwalk Dec. 20. The promenade flanking the pier was also littered with debris.
The city’s engineering department estimated repairs to the pier would cost between $14 million and $16 million. The city said only $7 million was covered by insurance, but a statement said the community, businesses and the province all contributed funds to help make up the difference.
‘We’re so grateful to have it back’
Karin Bjerke-Lisle is the executive director at the White Rock Museum and Archives, located just a few metres away from the pier.
“We see it everyday and very often, those of us who work and volunteer here at the museum, take a daily amble down that pier,” said Bjerke-Lisle.
“You don’t think about how much you take something for granted until the day you aren’t able to do that anymore.”
The pier, which is about 470 metres long, was originally built in 1914, but Bjerke-Lisle says it has withstood all sorts of trials and tribulations during its over-hundred year history.
“Back in the 50s, it was burned down. This is not the original pier. In fact, one of the original piers … cars were able to drive up and down,” she told host Gloria Macarenko on CBC’s On The Coast.
The museum is preserving pieces of the old pier for an exhibit about the history of the White Rock Pier.
“It’s so wonderful to see everyone strolling up and down the pier. We’re so grateful to have it back.”