White Rock’s Expo ‘86 benches ‘flattened like pancakes’

City says 10 benches removed because they were damaged by Dec. 20 storm

A White Rock resident said he was disappointed to see a number of the Expo ’86 yellow benches along the East Beach promenade “flattened like pancakes” by city contractors. Instead, he noted, there was an opportunity for the benches to be given a new life.

East Beach resident David Cain posted a video on Facebook Wednesday of city contractors loading the benches onto a flatbed truck before hauling them away.

City of White Rock director of corporate administration Tracey Arthur told Peace Arch News via email Thursday that approximately 10 benches east of Cypress Street were being removed and disposed of “because unfortunately they were quite damaged by the storm.

“The concrete bases with the ’86 logo will be saved – we will either reuse them for another project or they will be donated to the museum,” Arthur wrote.

“There will be new benches that will be placed along the promenade.”

East Beach, which is expected to re-open to the public in June, sustained significant damage after a Dec. 20 storm.

Cain told PAN Thursday that he is a proponent of the “measured and responsible” way that the city has dealt with the aftermath of the violent windstorm that also destroyed a section of the city’s pier.

He also told PAN that he has faith in the city that they will replace the benches with “something that is very nice.”

“However, this one thing I do take exception with for two reasons. It’s my firm belief that there wasn’t damage to more than two sets of those benches,” he said.

“I don’t know what they determined as damage, but I just disagree.”

He said that we live in a “throw-away society,” and that removing the benches – instead of repurposing them, auctioning them off, or allowing residents to request one – was disappointing.

“Even if they weren’t going to be reused. Even if right from the get-go they said they served their purposed, they’ve run their course, and we’re doing all of this renovation. Maybe just put out a call out to citizens to see if anyone wants them,” he said.

Several residents commented on Cain’s Facebook video, making note of the nostalgia of the benches.

The benches were originally used for the 1986 Vancouver Expo. City of White Rock officials, in 1987, allotted $20,000 towards their purchase, along with that of many other items from the 5½-month ‘World’s Fair.’ Over the years, many were adorned with memorial plaques.

“I would have liked to (have) had one of those benches if they were wanting to get rid of them,” White Rock resident Tyler Ingram wrote. “Who knows its totally possible I sat on one of those as a kid during Expo!”

“They could have been repurposed and some(one) would have really taken good care of them and appreciated them,” Dan Driediger wrote.

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