Removal of iconic Summerland pier delayed with environmental concerns

Pause on pier removal

Deconstruction work on Summerland's iconic pier at Rotary Beach has hit a hiccup, as crews balance environmental authorizations with removal work.

The District of Summerland received approvals from the provincial government in May to start the removal of the deck by district crews and an environmental monitor.

The removal work was put forward after a conditional assessment report determined the pier was unsafe and needed to be removed in December 2022. Due to the accelerated deterioration of the pier, it was recommended to be closed to the public.

District CAO Graham Statt said council had allocated $200,00 this cycle for the removal of the existing pier.

"In terms of the demolition of the existing pier, we started in on that, hoping it would come apart easily because the piles themselves are in terrible shape," he added.

"But as it turns out, the deck surface is quite strong. It was kind of built by volunteers, so they used a lot of spikes, and really fastened that thing. They kind of built it like a British battleship there."

While normally crews would be able to cut the boards out for removal, that work is not permitted due to environmental authorizations, since the wood is treated and shavings can't go into the water.

"So we're going to have to take the deck off at the same time we deal with the piles, which won't be until probably July."

The pilings will have to wait to be removed by a contractor once the lake temperature warms up enough to accommodate mussel relocation.

"We have to wait till the water is at 17 degrees Celsius, at the end of the dock on the lake bed."

The muscles will all have to be surveyed, gathered up and all be numbered.

"We have a really tight window, in order to do what we need to do there. It really boils down to sort of July and August," Statt added.

Options for the pier replacement will be coming before council at the end of June.

Statt said they likely won't be able to do any further work on the new pier in the water until the next window, which would be the same time next year.

The District is working with the Rotary Club of Summerland on the replacement, who proposed helping get the project together with fundraising.

Council is committed to rebuilding a basic reconstruction of the existing sort of pier concept, with $300,000 from the Growing Communities Fund the province awarded earlier this year.

"The thinking right now is the district would pay for a basic redesign cost to replace like for like, more or less. And anything that we see the Rotary doing with fundraising would pay for any of those additional options that to make it more deluxe," Statt said.

"The interest in the community, from what we learned in consultation with the waterfront survey, is such that it does seem like there's community interest in maybe having a few more bells and whistles in that pier design. And so these other options will describe beyond a basic pier design, [whether that] could be rope swings or slides or whatever the case may be."

Statt thanked residents and visitors for their patience with the project.

"Knowing it's such an iconic and important piece of infrastructure, they would continue to demonstrate patience as we work through the process of all the necessary approvals and to keep their eyes open for those fundraising opportunities that the Rotary will be profiling."

Residents and visitors are asked to keep well away from the pier while it is an active construction zone.

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