A community committee to raise funds toward repair and refurbishment of White Rock’s pier held its first meeting March 5.
Made up of movers and shakers in both business and community organizations, and advised by city staff, the committee set a target of raising $2 million over two years – in donations from the public, local businesses and the corporate sector – as a grass-roots contribution to the costs of the project.
The committee is chaired by TD Canada Trust White Rock branch manager Bob Bezubiak, who said he has heard from many residents since the pier was seriously damaged during the Dec. 20 windstorm, offering help and wanting to make financial donations to a pier-restoration fund.
“The pier is what brings everybody together,” Bezubiak commented. “It is what makes this community flourish and survive.”
City financial services director Sandra Kurylo told members of the new committee that costs will also be met out of the city budget, out of insurance the city had on the pier and, hopefully, out of infrastructure and emergency grants applied for from both the federal and provincial governments, but not yet confirmed.
Overall cost of rebuilding the pier to contemporary construction standards has been estimated at around $16 million, she said, while the city has earmarked some $4.5 million for repairs this year to replace sections washed away or seriously compromised by storm damage.
The meeting acknowledged the leadership of the White Rock Youth Ambassadors, who organized a GoFundMe page for repairs almost as soon as the extent of damage to the pier was known.
That initiative, which has also been assisted by the Semiahmoo Rotary Club, will remain an integral part of the committee, members agreed, and the GoFundMe page will continue, to capture those inclined to contribute online.
But after extensive discussion of setting up a new account for collecting funds, it was decided that the best vehicle for community contributions remains cheques payable to the City of White Rock – identified specifically as pier donations – for which Kurylo said she will establish a separate category in city accounts.
The committee also includes Norman Stowe, managing partner of the Pace Group, representing Landmark Properties; Debbie Ward of the White Rock Youth Ambassador program; Ritu Khanna, executive director of the South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce; Alex Nixon, executive director of the White Rock BIA, real estate agents Morley Myren and Al Hippsley (both of Re/Max); and Peninsula business entrepreneur Peter Hu.