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Summerland Rotary proposes community involvement to replace pier

Structural assessment says iconic pier is no longer safe and cannot be repaired
The wharf in Summerland was installed in 1910 and was an important part of the community’s transportation system. By the 1970s, it was demolished since it was aging. A new dock, opened in 1999, is now considered unsafe. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)

The Rotary Club of Summerland is hoping to mobilize the community to rebuild the pier at Okanagan Lake.

At the Summerland council meeting on April 3, Connie Denesiuk and Bob Van Balkom of the Rotary Club presented their goal of rebuilding the pier.

The iconic pier, one of Summerland’s most beloved landmarks, is slated to be torn down as it is no longer safe.

Denesiuk said there is interest in Summerland for preserving the pier.

“The community’s very interested in this,” she said. “We can help to harness that interest.”

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She would like to see an enhanced pier replacing the existing pier.

Denesiuk said a structural report, presented to the municipality in December, stated the pier cannot be repaired and must be replaced instead.

The cost of replacing the pier has been estimated at up to $1 million. Summerland council applied for $1 million in a B.C. tourism grant, but this grant was denied. Council and staff are looking at other grant opportunities.

Denesiuk said the project could be done with community participation.

She added that the mayor and council were enthusiastic when she presented the proposal to gain community involvement.

The pier has long been an attraction in Summerland, and it has a long history in the community.

The original Canadian Pacific Wharf in Summerland was constructed in 1910 and provided an important transportation link for the community.

Railway cars would be filled and transported by barge and steamer to Vernon, where the were connected to the railway there.

The wharf cost $50,000 and included a cold storage facility, plant station, freight shed and the slip dock with the railway cars.

By the 1970s, the wharf was starting to show its age and was eventually demolished.

The Summerland Kinsmen Club and the Summerland Rotary Club, with the help of donations from the community, later built a new wharf at the same location. This wharf was officially opened July 1, 1999.

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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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