Council approves $5.4M budget for storm repairs

Restoring White Rock Pier, waterfront cleanup included

The City of White Rock has approved the addition of $5.4 million to its current 2018 to 2022 financial plan – money needed to pay for immediate repairs to the pier and other costs related to catastrophic damage caused by the Dec. 20 windstorm.

Council unanimously passed final reading to an amendment to the financial plan bylaw Monday night, following an opportunity for residents to weigh in – which saw no written submissions and received only two speakers, neither of whom voiced direct opposition to funding repairs.

The city won’t be on the hook for the full amount, however, according to a prior report from financial services director Sandra Kurylo presented at council’s Feb. 11 meeting.

In that report, Kurylo said an estimated $3.1 million of the total is expected to be paid for by the city’s insurance, with more relief anticipated from a federal infrastructure grant applied for by the city.

Help from the provincial Disaster Financial Assistance fund is also expected to lighten the cost burden, she said.

On Monday, Kurylo said the $5.4 million includes a pier-repair budget of $4.3 million, plus $600,000 for debris removal and cleanup along the waterfront, particularly East Beach, and $500,000 to cover emergency response costs during the storm, and subsequent staff overtime.

In response to a question from resident Ken Jones, Kurylo said the budgeting did not include costs of the helicopter rescue of a man trapped on the pier by the collapse of a section during the storm.

“To my knowledge, the city has not received any bills, or is committed to making any payments for that,” she said.

In her report to the Feb. 11 meeting, Kurylo said the money to be allocated to the pier provides funding to repair the collapsed section with steel piles and a concrete deck.

Some $20,000 is for preliminary engineering assessment work already done in 2018, with $4,280,000 earmarked for repairs this year.

Also included are environmental and regulatory costs, design and electrical and lighting work, and a temporary telecom connection, Kurylo noted at that meeting.

According to her report, the city will cover the remaining $1.2 million not paid for by insurance by using $280,000 from the pier preservation reserve, $186,000 from the infrastructure reserve originally allocated for seabed dredging, and $734,000 from uncommitted community amenity contributions.

Her report also pointed out that the funding does not include repairs to the west wharf, which are planned for later in the repair process.

“This is a cost estimate, most of it based on some work that (director of operations and engineering Jim Gordon) had done,” she said at the same meeting.

“The final costs will be determined after a tender process – but before the tender process can happen, there needs to be a budget.”

“They are estimates, based on somewhere between a conceptual and a detailed design,” Gordon added at the Feb. 11 meeting. “Every week we know more and more about the estimates.”

“You’re not awarding a contract,” chief administrative officer Dan Bottrill told council at that time.

“All you’re doing is providing a funding source within the financial plan that authorizes you, at a later date, to make that award.”

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