White Rock’s pier should be demolished.
Sixty years ago, the pier was an official port of entry and there was a customs house and federal building across Marine Drive.
Regular trains would leave the station at the beach for downtown Vancouver; my mother would use them to go to Woodwards’ $1.49 day on Hastings Street. That station is now a museum.
Marine Drive used to be a healthy mix of grocery and hardware stores, banks and barbershops.
There was even a curling rink down there.
There was a park on the East Beach where music festivals used to happen – which has been fenced off for so long no one remembers. The string of failing and undistinguished restaurants did not exist.
In short, White Rock’s beach was a place with a reason for being, not the nowhere it is today.
Today, the mall people have fled across the freeway, and why would you eat on Marine Drive when you can be in Yaletown on the #351 in less than an hour?
The short bus to the beach never seems to run on schedule and ends service at 9 p.m.
So investing $15 million for a new pier seems like an exercise in nostalgia for the beach that used to be; it’s kind of like taxidermy for a dead poodle.
That money would be better invested in the developing urban village uptown; in new public parks and squares and fountains, bike racks and bus shelters.
That is where people are moving now, and where young people with disposable incomes will be spending their money.
It is time to let our beach return to nature.
No one goes there in February anymore.
The pier is not the cure for the beach’s issues, and there will never be adequate density and transit down there to support its ambitions, so it’s time to let it go.
John R. Wright, Surrey