Fundraising campaign launched to rebuild White Rock’s iconic pier

‘Friends of the Pier’ will seek to raise $2 million for construction project

A community-based fundraising committee announced its plans to raise $2 million to help rebuild the City of White Rock’s iconic pier.

‘Friends of the Pier’ fundraising committee held a press conference at Memorial Park Thursday where committee chairman Bob Bezubiak announced that the committee will fund the project’s shortfall.

The city’s waterfront pier was partially destroyed after a violent windstorm Dec. 20.

“The estimated cost of rebuilding and replacing the 104-year-old pier is about $16.2 million, but even with insurance, potential contributions from other levels of government, and dipping into the city’s reserves, there is an estimated shortfall of about $2 million,” Bezubiak said in a news release issued Thursday. “One option would be for the City of White Rock to borrow the money, but we believe a better option is for all of us who are friends of the pier, and every generation that has enjoyed the pier over the years, to lend a hand and help out as a community.”

The release says that the committee is co-ordinating a number of fundraising activities and will accept donations through Semiahmoo Rotary, which can issue charitable tax receipts.

Individual fundraising efforts include selling wooden planks for the new pier for $1,000 each; recruiting sponsors for the pier’s 16 decorative arches; 200-person dinner featuring celebrity chefs at Oceana PARC; selling ‘Friends of the Pier’ commemorative tee-shirts; summer-long ‘buy-a-beer-for-the-pier’ promotion at waterfront pubs and restaurants and during TD Concerts for the Pier; and local artists turning 30 damaged pier planks into works of art for auction at the Landmark Uptown Gallery this fall.

In addition, individual donations can be made directly to www.friendsofthepier.com, which also lists details of community fundraising events.

“The pier will be rebuilt to today’s engineering design standards using concrete and steel with a wooden deck that will retain the historic feel of the original pier,” Mayor Darryl Walker said in the release. “When the pier was damaged on December 20 last year by a hurricane force storm it was clear that we could not just patch or repair the existing wooden structure. Instead, we need to completely rebuild it to modern engineering and seismic standards, but it will still have the look and feel that every generation of visitors and residents have come to love.”

Bezubiak said that every dollar raised will go directly to the pier, administrative and overhead costs are “completely covered.”

“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 in the release. “We have a lot of work to do, but there’s tremendous community support and people want to pitch in and make a difference. Just imagine being able to tell your kids and grandkids that you helped rebuild the new pier. This is all about community and what we can do together for our city and generations to come.”

Walker added that the all partners are committed to making the pier “better than ever.”

“Our community and region are famous for working together to help out, and I want to thank the Friends of the Pier and all those who will step up and help us rebuild our pier over the next couple of years. It’s a chance for all of us to work together as we rebuild the pier, something that means so much to all of us,” he said.

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