White Rock to discuss fast-tracking pier accessibility mat

A White Rock city councillor is bringing forward a motion Monday with the hopes of accelerating an accessibility project at the famous pier.

The motion is pushing for the city to move ahead with an accessibility mat at the pier, after council originally said it would have to wait until 2025.

Coun. Christopher Trevelyan, who is behind the motion, says now that the city has gotten a $25,000 grant to move forward with the project, there’s no reason it should have to wait.

In total, the mat, which would stretch along the pier, is expected to cost about $115,000. He wants the city to find the remaining cash so everyone can enjoy the landmark.

“It makes sense to me and, in addition to people in wheelchairs, we have people who use scooters, walkers, strollers, of course,” he told CityNews.

“I really think it’s important … I hear from people who have accessibility challenges that they really have a tough time getting in and out of our premier tourist attraction.”

Trevelyan says White Rock has “reserves,” adding this project is something “we can pay for, in my opinion.”

“It’s not a million-dollar plan, it’s $115,000,” he said. “The lifespan of a pier mat, apparently, is a decade or two.”

A motion to fund the mat was voted down at a May 13 city council meeting, but council voted to go ahead with researching grant opportunities for the project.

In addition to the $25,000 grant from the Social Planning and Research Council of B.C., White Rock has also received a $5,750 donation from the Self Advocates of Semiahmoo for the mat.

Meanwhile, the councillor says he’s just as mystified as some beachgoers who’ve noticed a QR code put up by the city trying to raise about $10 million for pier repairs.

Trevelyan says he thinks raising that kind of cash from citizens is a tall order but also notes provincial and federal grant applications for the repairs have so far been rejected.

-With files from Maria Vinca