A day after a community group launched a funding drive to help rebuild the White Rock Pier, the provincial government announced a $1 million commitment to aid the cause.
The B.C. Ministry of Municipal Affairs – represented by MLA Ravi Kahlon (Delta North), White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker, Coun. Helen Fathers – made the announcement Friday morning during a news conference at White Rock’s recently re-opened Memorial Park.
“The historic White Rock pier is a cultural icon and a significant contributor to the local economy, drawing more than one million visitors to the community each year,” said Kahlon.
“Restoring the pier will help local businesses and improve recreational and cultural opportunities for the community.”
“Last winter’s storm devastated our community, impacting both residents and the local economy alike,” said Walker.
“We are grateful for the provincial grant to help us reconstruct our waterfront and pier and protect our shoreline from the impacts of climate change.”
A release, issued by the province shortly after the announcement, states the funding will help repair waterfront infrastructure from storm damage along the promenade and White Rock pier, helping restore the economic and social heart of the community.
On Thursday, Friends of the Pier – a group of community leaders and fundraisers – announced a plan to raise $2-million for restoration of the pier, which was badly damaged in a Dec. 20 storm and has been closed ever since.
Repairing the pier is estimated to cost about $16.2 million, and even with insurance and contributions from different levels of government, there is an estimated shortfall of about $2 million, Friends of the Pier chair Bob Bezubiak – who also spoke Friday – explained at Thursday’s event.
The community fundraising efforts aim to cover that amount.
“This is a real chance for all of us to pay it forward for every stroll and every picture ever taken on the pier,” Bezubiak said Thursday.
Near the end of Friday’s news conference, in response to a question about the estimated $2-million shortfall – and specifally, how the effort will still be $1 million short after the provincial donation – Walker said there were still insurance claims and other funding sources yet to be finalized, but the provincial funds were a good start, and vital to helping repair work, which he said will begin this month.
A target date to re-open the pier is still Aug. 31, he said.