The rebuild of White Rock’s pier is far from over, but those fundraising to boost the effort believe a lull in donations is likely due to the impression that all is well.
“I think part of the challenge is a lot of people think the pier is done,” Bob Bezubiak said Friday, ahead of a presentation of funds committed to the campaign by TD Canada Trust.
“This is going to be a continuing process.”
Bezubiak, who is chair of the Friends of the Pier campaign, was at the iconic structure Friday (Nov. 1) afternoon with White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker and representatives from TD Canada Trust for an event that, it is hoped, will remind people there is still much more to be done.
An oversized cheque for $20,000 was presented, representing funds that were committed to the Friends’ campaign at its launch in May.
The “absolutely appreciated” funds were included in some $90,000 in contributions announced at that time from Landmark Premiere Properties and TD to kick-start the campaign, which aims to raise $2 million for the rebuild effort.
The pier suffered extensive damage in a violent windstorm last December. It was reopened to the public in August, 250 days later – and officially, on Sept. 21 – following work to rebuild the damaged section with reinforced planks, at a cost of about $4.3 million.
Walker said at the official opening that an additional $11.6 million will be required to replace the entire structure to current building-code and environmental standards.
He told Peace Arch News Friday that the city is still awaiting word on government grants towards that effort. Exactly what the rest of the rebuild will include is also still under discussion, Walker said.
There are “a number of… kick-about ideas,” he said, naming everything from floats and marker buoys off the breakwater, to widening the end of the pier for amenities such as a bandshell.
“What else can we do with the pier?” Walker said. “There’s a number of things we’re going to talk about.”
The top priority, of course, is ensuring the pier will be able to withstand whatever Mother Nature has in store for the pier’s next 104 years, he said.
“With global warming, we’re going to have more storms like that,” he said. “We don’t want this to ever, ever happen to our pier again.”
Bezubiak told attendees that the Friends committee is anticipating making its initial down-payment to the city in January, and, that another event will likely be held this month to present certificates to those who’ve supported the pier-plaques initiative. That effort – selling 1,300 pier planks with donor-recognition plaques, for $1,000 each – is one of the group’s principal fundraisers.
Interest in that initiative has come from Mexico and beyond, Bezubiak said.
Bezubiak told PAN that the Friends campaign has raised “probably $300,000-plus” so far.
Other initiatives to date have included a dinner featuring celebrity chefs at Oceana PARC; the summer-long ‘buy-a-beer-for-the-pier’ promotion; and commissioning local artists to turn 30 damaged pier planks into works of art for auction at the Landmark Uptown Gallery this fall.
For more information, or to donate directly to the campaign, visit www.friendsofthepier.com