LETTERS: Stop blaming boats for pier damage

Editor:

Re: Bill always left to the taxpayers, Aug. 23 letters

Ole Nygaard still claims the boats tore loose from their moorings. The facts are, once again, that the west float broke up because the pilings holding the dock had received little or no maintenance (strengthening or replacing) and simply were no longer able to withstand the waves, which were of such height that the inadequate breakwater did nothing to hold them back.

The boats were still solidly attached to their mooring cleats but those cleats and their respective sections of the float, were no longer a complete float, but parts thereof, broken up by the pounding waves.

He suggests the bill for clean up and repair ought to rest with those responsible for a “lack of due diligence and reluctance to spend resources on proper mooring for the boats”.

The 30 boats moored at the west float provided annual moorage revenue to the city, in the order of mid-five figures. Of that sum, for the last several years at least, the amount actually spent on maintenance and repair of the float, was just about three per cent of those moorage revenues taken in by the city.

Any marina owner up and down the coast will tell you that maintenance and repair of the dock takes considerably more than three per cent of what you take in from moorage fees.

It would seem therefore, that the responsibility is actually being carried by exactly the correct party, namely the city of White Rock.

Lower Mainland Yacht Co-operative

•••

It is sad that the erroneous myth that sail boat owner bear special responsibly for the damage to the pier is still being promulgated.

The mechanism of the failure seems clear. The city-owned float to which the boats were moored must be able to rise and fall with the tides. It is held in place by place by a number of piles located in openings to restrain its horizontal movement.

The outer portion of the float broke free from these moorings during the freak storm, swung 90 degrees carrying the boats and crushed them between the float and the pier.

The boat owners, like the city, were victims of the storm.

Yes, I am a former member of the Lower Mainland Yacht Coop. One of its founders the late Art Bates was lauded as being one of the principal proponents and organizers that saved and rebuilt the pier many years ago when it was scheduled for demolition by the federal government.

Hopefully, community based boating organizations such as Art espoused, that allow affordable boating activities to the general public, will soon be welcomed back to the pier.

At present, the bay seems a little sterile with hardly a sail in sight.

George Duddy, White Rock

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