Refurbished footprint plaques have been re-installed on the Ash Street steps at Marine Drive.

Footprint plaques returned to White Rock steps

Years after removal, the Peninsula Community Foundation has ensured that the Ash Street plaques are back in place.

A handful of commemorative plaques are back under foot on a set of beachfront stairs at the bottom of Ash Street in White Rock.

The footprint-shaped plaques – which were purchased by individuals more than 10 years ago through the Peninsula Community Foundation – had been missing from the steps for at least “four of five years” according to the foundation’s Caroline Bradley, who spearheaded the recent initiative to track down and re-install the missing plaques.

The plaques – originally installed along the Ash Street steps at Marine Drive in 2005 – had been removed and sent away to be refurbished in 2010.

While neither Bradley nor foundation president Mike Anderson could speak to reasons why some were not re-installed – the project pre-dates both their involvement with the association – a Peace Arch News story from February 2010 reported that 48 bronze plaques were removed.

“From what I understand, the beach had eroded the finish – the weather had taken its toll,” Anderson said, adding that Bradley had been “stickhandling the project” all summer and she had attempted to contact those who’d originally purchased a footprint to let them know they’d been put back in place.

In tracking down original purchasers, Bradley said she’d also discovered that three plaques had never been made. However, all the footprints have since been made or refurbished and were put back onto the stairs earlier this month.

Local company Infinity Landscape Design, installed the plaques for free, Bradley added.

“They’re all back in place now and they look pretty good,” Anderson said. “The response has been very positive.”

The footprints were originally part of the Walking on Sunshine project, a partnership of the youth-based Semiahmoo Mosaic Workshop Society and the foundation – then called the White Rock South Surrey Community Foundation – that transformed the staircase into a colourful tile mosaic. The footprints were sold, engraved and inset into the staircase as a fundraiser for the foundation.

With the plaques successfully re-installed, the Peninsula Foundation is also reinstituting the footprint initiative; in addition to the three new original plaques from years ago, four more have  been added, with room for “about 100” more, according to Anderson.

Cost to purchase a new footprint plaque is $500, and a tax receipt for $400 will be issued.

Money raised through the program will help fund the foundation’s efforts to help local sports organizations, Anderson said.

For information on purchasing a footprint plaque, email info@peninsulafoundation.ca

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