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Beloved Summerland pier to be torn down, no timeline on replacement

Structural assessment confirmed lakefront landmark needs to be removed

One of Summerland’s most beloved lakefront landmarks will be no more.

A structural assessment of the Summerland Kiwanis Pier confirmed that it has to come down, said Graham Statt, chief administrative officer of the District of Summerland.

“The majority of the piles are in poor condition and it is no longer safe,” he added.

The pier, at Rotary Beach, has been closed to the public since late November 2022.

Every summer, thousands of locals and tourists come out the pier to jump off or just hang out on the wooden structure. The pier is a regular hang out for local youth who spend their summers jumping off the sides of the pier.

Summerland Rotary recently invested strings of lights along the pier and waterfront walkway.

“We know it’s much loved in the community,” said Statt.

In a report to council in December, staff said it will cost around $1 million to replace the pier.

Council applied for $1 million in a B.C. tourism grant but that grant was denied. Now they are looking at other grant options.

This shows one of the broken piles of the Summerland Kiwanis Pier at Rotary Beach. (Brad Bessler photo)

Some of the piles that hold up the pier are completely severed as seen in this picture taken by Brad Bessler.

The pier replacement is included in the five-year capital plan and deemed a priority through feedback in the waterfront concept plan, but the timeline of its replacement is uncertain.

Mayor Doug Holmes said replacing the pier would cost residents a 10 per cent tax hike.

“Timelines are dependent on budget allocations and for this year council has only budgeted for the dismantling of the pier,” said Holmes.

He further hinted that the pier replacement won’t be a priority because of the cost to taxpayers.

“Many people are feeling the pinch and struggling financially these days so in this year’s budget deliberations, council intentionally kept the tax increase as low as possible and managed to hold it to 3.76 per cent — well below the rate of inflation. That’s why, in respect to the pier, it’s important we consider our options.”

Statt explains that it is also the intensive environmental process they have to go through with the province.

“We have to get the permits from the province and we have to be aware of the Rocky Mountain mussel which is in Okanagan Lake and protected,” he said.

The next step for staff is to search for that money and start working with the province, Statt added.

“If all pieces come into place, and the planets align, we could be building back a better pier than before,” said Statt.

The pier has historic importance to the community. It was the site of a Canadian Pacific Railway wharf and barge slip which was constructed in 1910.

The wharf was rebuilt in the late 1990s in a joint project between the Summerland Kiwanis Club, Summerland Rotary Club and others.

So far, the municipality has not sought public donations like was done for the original replacement in the 1990s.

READ MORE: Up to $1 million in funding sought to rebuild Summerland pier

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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