The promenade at the White Rock pier was bustling with hundreds Friday, during what otherwise would have been a surprisingly warm day to spend by the ocean.
But the views of the city’s iconic pier cut in two, large piles of debris and shipwrecked boats served as a stark reminder of the damage done just a day before by one of the most severe storms in B.C.’s recent history.
“Actually, it kind of broke my heart,” Carmen Braun told Black Press Media. The former White Rock resident decided to visit the beach from her home in Langley, camera in hand, documenting the destruction for herself.
“It’s been around so long and it’s just such a landmark for this area. Growing up we used to always come down here and people would jump off the pier, dive off the pier – we’d sing under the pier – and it was great.”
Carmen Braun, who grew up in White Rock and now lives in Langley, told me this is the visual that breaks her heart the most. Piece of pier on the shore. pic.twitter.com/szZKETf7qe— Ashley Wadhwani (@ashwadhwani) December 21, 2018
Thursday’s damage will take several months to repair and is anticipated to cost well into the millions of dollars, White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker told reporters Friday.
“But trust me, our pier will be restored,” Walker said.
White Rock officials have already been in contact with the provincial and federal government to determine costs and other repair fees. In the meantime, the first steps will be cleaning up the walkway and beachfront – a task some residents have volunteered to begin themselves.
Loki and Tristan Chalmers, 6 and 9, spent much of the morning exploring the shore with their parents. Tristan found a small plastic ball, and a rock that he said he’d be keeping to “mark the destruction.”
The brothers were excited to still be able to walk along a chunk of the pier that had been swept ashore – a spot on the beach that has turned into a temporary photo op.
And there was a mix of people checking out the debris for fun, grabbing garbage and moving it to the grass and others just standing still for many moments taking it all in. @PeaceArchNews #WhiteRock #BCStorm pic.twitter.com/8FuFrFuE4Y— Ashley Wadhwani (@ashwadhwani) December 21, 2018
“We just went on the pier again for the last time, we went on the wreckage,” Tristan said.
While it’s not clear how long the chunk of pier will remain on the beach before crews remove it and the number of boats also stuck, officials predict it will be upwards of months until the city staple will be open to the public.