A man is rescued from White Rock’s iconic pier after a windstorm last Thursday. (Aaron Hinks photo)

EDITORIAL: Re-stirring affection for White Rock’s iconic pier

It seems likely White Rock will not give up its landmark structure – at least, not without a fight

The City of White Rock has a new wish at the very top of its Christmas list.

That’s a newly repaired and refurbished version of the city’s iconic pier, now in two segments following the destructive force of last Thursday’s windstorm storm.

Aided by boats set adrift, the winds and waves battered a hole through the structure, completely demolishing a central section by the late afternoon.

It’s not the first time that severe storms have threatened the existence of the 100 year-plus structure – according to Years of Promise, Lorraine Ellenwood’s authoritative history of the city, it was “badly damaged by buffeting gales” as early as 1915, when work was underway to extend it only months after the pier’s official opening on Nov. 14, 1914.

Storms and the need for extensive repairs every decade were a fact of the pier’s early life, and, following huge waves in February 1947 that caused several piles to be pushed out of place, a contemporary newspaper account went as far as saying “the pier is in poor condition and considered beyond repair.”

Each time it seemed the pier was done – including the time in the late 1970s the federal government said it intended to demolish it – stubborn White Rockers have rallied around to save their beloved wharf.

It’s never been closer to the brink than this, however.

READ ALSO: White Rock pier repair will likely take months, cost millions – mayor

Former Mayor and MLA Gordie Hogg – now South Surrey-White Rock MP – grew up in White Rock and fondly recalls the youthful bravado of stormy days when he and other schoolmates would hang on to the rail at the end of the pier as waves crashed over the breakwater around them.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” he admitted, adding that he is investigating whether federal funds could be tapped to help repair the pier.

What he has seen before, he added – and is seeing again now – is a re-stirring of the community’s affection for the venerable structure, a favourite strolling destination not just for city residents but people from all over the region, and beyond.

That never-say-die spirit is alive and well in Mayor Darryl Walker’s statement to PAN Thursday: “We will not lose that pier…come hell or high water, we’ll make sure we have that pier.”

High water, we’ve had. And paying for repairs may play a another form of havoc on city budgeting. But it seems likely White Rock will not give up its landmark structure – at least, not without one hell of a fight.

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

Just Posted

Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society doing ‘better than we were expecting’ amid COVID-19

At one point, the board thought it might have a donation shortfall of $250,000

Delta artist John Horton named to Order of British Columbia

Honour for significant contributions made to the appreciation and safety of B.C.’s coastal history

Man arrested in ‘after-hours club crackdown’ in Whalley, Surrey RCMP say

Police say they received information about clubs, parties ‘springing up’ at commercial properties

Former White Rock mayor, MP shares community connections via YouTube

Gordie Hogg aims to highlight those who’ve impacted South Surrey, White Rock

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Fraser Valley Bandits advance to CEBL Championship Game

Bandits post comeback 76-75 win over Hamilton Honey Badgers in Saturday’s semifinal

IHIT on scene of suspicious early-morning fire on rural Mission property

Entrance to Gunn Avenue property cordoned off while investigation takes place, updates coming

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

FURTHER UPDATE: Body removed from Maple Ridge hotel after large police presence

A large contingent of Mounties were at the Art Infiniti Hotel Friday afternoon and evening

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Most Read