A man is rescued from White Rock’s iconic pier after a windstorm last Thursday. (Aaron Hinks photo)

A man is rescued from White Rock’s iconic pier after a windstorm last Thursday. (Aaron Hinks photo)

EDITORIAL: Re-stirring affection for White Rock’s iconic pier

It seems likely White Rock will not give up its landmark structure – at least, not without a fight

The City of White Rock has a new wish at the very top of its Christmas list.

That’s a newly repaired and refurbished version of the city’s iconic pier, now in two segments following the destructive force of last Thursday’s windstorm storm.

Aided by boats set adrift, the winds and waves battered a hole through the structure, completely demolishing a central section by the late afternoon.

It’s not the first time that severe storms have threatened the existence of the 100 year-plus structure – according to Years of Promise, Lorraine Ellenwood’s authoritative history of the city, it was “badly damaged by buffeting gales” as early as 1915, when work was underway to extend it only months after the pier’s official opening on Nov. 14, 1914.

Storms and the need for extensive repairs every decade were a fact of the pier’s early life, and, following huge waves in February 1947 that caused several piles to be pushed out of place, a contemporary newspaper account went as far as saying “the pier is in poor condition and considered beyond repair.”

Each time it seemed the pier was done – including the time in the late 1970s the federal government said it intended to demolish it – stubborn White Rockers have rallied around to save their beloved wharf.

It’s never been closer to the brink than this, however.

READ ALSO: White Rock pier repair will likely take months, cost millions – mayor

Former Mayor and MLA Gordie Hogg – now South Surrey-White Rock MP – grew up in White Rock and fondly recalls the youthful bravado of stormy days when he and other schoolmates would hang on to the rail at the end of the pier as waves crashed over the breakwater around them.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” he admitted, adding that he is investigating whether federal funds could be tapped to help repair the pier.

What he has seen before, he added – and is seeing again now – is a re-stirring of the community’s affection for the venerable structure, a favourite strolling destination not just for city residents but people from all over the region, and beyond.

That never-say-die spirit is alive and well in Mayor Darryl Walker’s statement to PAN Thursday: “We will not lose that pier…come hell or high water, we’ll make sure we have that pier.”

High water, we’ve had. And paying for repairs may play a another form of havoc on city budgeting. But it seems likely White Rock will not give up its landmark structure – at least, not without one hell of a fight.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Delta City Hall. (James Smith photo)
Harvie, Kruger to represent Delta on Metro Vancouver board

Delta reps to sit on 11 of 16 standing committees and task forces

Record-setting high jumper Emma de Boer, who lives in Cloverdale and attends Holy Cross Regional High School in Fleetwood, will train and study architecture at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) next fall. (submitted photo)
Surrey jumper on a high after recruitment by UPenn track team

High jumper Emma de Boer aims to leave Cloverdale for Philadelphia next fall

The White Birch proposal for a six-storey rental-only building at 1485 Fir St. was turned down by council on Monday night. (Contributed rendering)
White Birch developer feels ‘betrayed’ by City of White Rock council

Application for new rental building at 1485 Fir St. turned down by council

Surrey RCMP Gang Enforcement Team street check. (File photo)
Surrey RCMP gang enforcement team seizes five vehicles

This was over 13 days, as SGET continues to target gang activity in this city

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

RCMP officers wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 stand by. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
RCMP appeal for witnesses after hit-and-run leaves girl, 17, in critical condition

The Metro Vancouver teenager was found unconscious and critically injured after being hit: police

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

Most Read