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Summerland council commits to funding pier replacement

Lakefront attraction was deemed unsafe and will be removed
This shows one of the broken piles of the Summerland Kiwanis Pier at Rotary Beach. (Brad Bessler photo)

A portion of provincial grant funding received by Summerland will go to replacing the beloved pier on Okanagan Lake.

Summerland’s share of the Growing Communities Fund is $4.533 million. Graham Statt, chief administrative officer for Summerland, said some of this money will go to replacing the Kiwanis Pier on Okanagan Lake. Council will contribute funding from the funding for the basic replacement of the pier.

The pier has been closed to the public. Statt said most of the pilings have rotted and as a result, the pier is no longer safe.

He said the damage to the pilings came because untreated wood was used when this pier was created. However, the deck surface is in good condition. A structural report, presented to the municipality in December, stated the pier must be replaced and cannot be repaired.

At a council meeting in April, Coun. Erin Trainer suggested some of the funding could be used for the pier.

“Over the last couple of months, we’ve really seen the community step up and say that they want a replacement for the pier,” she said. “The pier is just a really great project that I think a lot of people can get behind.”

Coun. Janet Peake suggested a system where the municipality matches contributions from the community for the dock.

Coun. Marty Van Alphen said council taking a role will encourage the community to become involved with this project.

“I think the pier is an important project,” he said.

Statt said the replacement pier will have a design similar to that of the existing pier.

Council has already set aside $200,000 for the removal of the existing pier. Statt estimates a basic reconstruction of the pier could cost an additional $300,000.

The municipality will take on the construction of the pier, while the Rotary Club of Summerland will work to raise funds for enhancements and additional features.

Connie Denesiuk of the Rotary Club hopes the new pier is better than the pier in place at present. “Not just a replacement, but hopefully an enhanced version of the pier,” she said.

The pier has had a long history in Summerland.

In 1910, the Canadian Pacific Wharf was constructed at the location of the existing pier. Railway cars were filled at this wharf and then transported by barge to Vernon, where they were connected to the railway line.

The wharf was showing its age in the 1970s and was eventually destroyed.

A new pier, with a similar design to the Canadian Pacific Wharf, was constructed in the late 1990s. The Summerland Kiwanis Club and Summerland Rotary Club worked on this project.

The pier was officially opened on July 1, 1999. Money for this project had come from community donations.

“I hope this is as successful as it was in 1999 and that the community will use their creative ideas to do fundraising,” said Pat Lindsay, who organized the fundraising for the pier at the time.

She added that in 1999, numerous businesses set up donation jars. Individuals and groups also took on fundraising projects to construct this pier. She would like to see a two-week donation drive to raise money for the new pier work.

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John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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