Opinion

EDITORIAL: Pier pressure

All lit up for its 100th birthday, The White Rock pier played host to close to 500 people – including more than 370 paying guests – for the Party On The Pier, Aug. 28, a fundraiser for Semiahmoo Arts. Providing musical entertainment from a stage on the pier were the Powder Blues Band and (below) vocalist Mike Henry with reggae band Mostly Marley. - Braden Paul photos
All lit up for its 100th birthday, The White Rock pier played host to close to 500 people – including more than 370 paying guests – for the Party On The Pier, Aug. 28, a fundraiser for Semiahmoo Arts. Providing musical entertainment from a stage on the pier were the Powder Blues Band and (below) vocalist Mike Henry with reggae band Mostly Marley.
— image credit: Braden Paul photos

With all due respect to Semiahmoo Arts, for whom last week’s Party on the Pier was conceived as a fundraiser in the form of a centennial celebration for White Rock’s iconic pier, the $100-per-ticket event did not cut it as an inclusive event for all.

While, by most accounts, a success for the select few who shelled out the cash – and an effective way of raising money for arts programs – it did not sit well with the more general public who found themselves barred, albeit politely, from ‘their’ pier on the evening of Aug. 28.

Some people came down that evening prepared for a community celebration; other casual strollers, who had not heard about the event, were prepared to participate – until they heard the cost. Still others, not yet the age of the majority, were barred from paying tribute.

While city leaders and other celebrants may have been sufficiently impressed by this exclusive bash to contemplate making a pier event a regular occurrence, it would do well for them to contemplate reactions among the populace.

Some in White Rock are decidedly unimpressed with the optics of ordinary citizens being denied access to the pier, whatever the occasion. There is an emotional undercurrent among residents who feel the waterfront is already becoming too blatantly a private enclave – governed by the elite, who can well afford ocean-view property.

These are dangerous waters to navigate, particularly for those who rely so heavily on political goodwill.

Originally intended as a federal wharf for commercial vessels – but condemned to being a largely decorative edifice after the opening of the Panama Canal, also in 1914 – the White Rock pier was long ago claimed by the public. They walked on it, fished from it, swam around it, moored boats to it, ate in restaurants built alongside it, even drove on it, as White Rock’s destiny evolved from potential port to quaint holiday destination. The people of White Rock even banded together to save their pier, when the federal government of the 1970s decided it was time to dismantle it.

If that sounds like the residents of White Rock are fiercely possessive of their icon, so be it. These people deserve a celebration that resonates with them and is inclusive of them.

It’s not too late. White Rock’s pier was officially opened on Nov. 14, 1914, which means we’re still a couple of months and change shy of its actual 100th anniversary. The powers that be should take note, and ring Nov. 14 on their calendars.

And if they don’t feel capable of coming up with a genuine public celebration for that date, then the people should come down, en masse, for their own unhindered stroll.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

No injuries in fiery Lamborghini crash in South Surrey
 
Pedestrian dies crossing South Surrey highway
 
Tour de White Rock changes gears, drops hill climb
Charges stayed against one of three men charged in Surrey sex attacks
 
Police advise against speculation on death of South Surrey teen
 
Diesel stays stubbornly high amid crude oil drop
2 attacks in France raise alarm, call for caution
 
Food scraps to be banned from garbage cans Jan. 1
 
Spain: Princess Cristina to be tried for fraud

Community Events, December 2014

Add an Event


Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Dec 18 edition online now. Browse the archives.