A fundraising committee that aims to cover the final costs of replacing the iconic White Rock pier launched several fundraising initiatives Thursday to achieve their goal.
The Friends of the Pier Fundraising Committee is counting on those activities and individual donations to cover an expected $2-million shortfall over the next two years, rather than force the city borrow the money.
“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,” committee chair and TD Bank manager Bob Bezubiak said in a statement.
WATCH: The effort to rebuild the White Rock pier has come up about $2 million short, so the community is hoping to raise the money through a series of public fundraising efforts. Jill Bennett reports.
The landmark was destroyed during the devastating windstorm on Dec. 20, which sent boats crashing through the middle section of the pier.
The cost to rebuild and replace the pier is now estimated to cost $16.2 million, with the $2-million shortfall left over after insurance. The provincial and federal governments have not yet committed any money to the replacement.
White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker has said the pier can’t simply be patched together, but instead must be completely rebuilt to modern engineering and seismic standards.
So far, the Friends of the Pier have lined up six fundraising efforts to help with the remaining costs, including selling the wooden planks used to build the new pier at $1,000 each and recruiting sponsors for each of the pier’s 16 arches.
Volunteers are also creating commemorative “Friends of the Pier” T-shirts for sale, while restaurants and pubs are being asked to sign on to a summer-long “Buy a Beer for the Pier” promotion.
A 200-person dinner cooked by celebrity chefs at Oceana PARC in White Rock is being planned for September, while artists will turn 30 of the wooden planks from the damaged pier into art pieces for auction at the Landmark Uptown Gallery in the fall.
WATCH: (Aired Jan. 25) Cost estimate to rebuild the damaged White Rock pier triples
Individual donations are also being accepted through the Semiahmoo Rotary and the committee’s website, and Bezubiak is also urging other businesses and residents to send in their own fundraising ideas.
“Every single dollar we raise will go directly to rebuilding the pier,” Bezubiak said.
“Our volunteer committee and rotary have made sure that any administrative or overhead costs are completely covered, so we can target every dollar of every donation right to the new pier.”
WATCH: (Aired Jan. 26) White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker talks about the cost to rebuild the pier
Walker applauded the committee’s efforts to step up and find ways to involve the community in ensuring the project gets funded.
“Everyone was devastated by the storm damage, but we’re all committed to making the pier better than ever,” Walker said. “Our community and region are famous for working together to help out.”
Bezubiak said he’s confident the project will get the funding it needs if people pitch in and take part in the fundraising efforts.
“This is a real chance for all of us to pay it forward for every stroll and every picture ever taken on the pier,” he said.
“We have a lot of work to do, but there’s tremendous community support and people want to pitch in and make a difference.”
Other fundraising efforts have been launched by residents, including a GoFundMe launched by the White Rock Youth Ambassadors and a motorcycle jump over the damaged section.
The city has not yet chosen a contractor for the replacement. PPM Civil Constructors was awarded a $3-million contract for interim repairs last month.
On Friday, the provincial government committed $1 million to help with repairs to waterfront infrastructure from storm damage along the promenade and White Rock pier.