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.

Just Posted

Out with a roar: Dinosaurs take over forest at Surrey school on last week of class

Six colourful creatures painted by Grade 3 students led youngsters on an expedition in the outdoor classroom

Animal advocates yowl after Delta cat severely injured in trap

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

Surrey city council cost taxpayers nearly $1M in 2018

That includes more than $151,372 in expenses from the former council

The end is near for North Surrey rec centre, meaning programs will move to other facilities within 4km

Plan is for the site of the aging rec centre to become mixed-use ‘Centre Block’ development

Street dance competition outdoors in Surrey on first day of summer break

DJ, prizes, activities, a food truck and more Friday at Surrey City Hall Plaza

SQUEEZING SURREY STUDENTS IN: The causes and impacts of overcrowding in city schools

Special series: How growth is affecting students, parents and school staff alike – and what the future holds

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

Plane veers off runway, into ditch at Langley Airport

Fire, ambulance, and police are on scene

Okanagan RCMP bike patrol rolls up on alleged stolen vehicle from Burnaby

The driver, a 30-year-old Kelowna man, has been held in custody and is facing possible charges of possession of stolen property and obstructing a police officer

Most Read