When you think of rats, you may envision destruction, but the Wharf Rats are working to restore a long-standing landmark in Davis Bay.
This small crew of dedicated volunteers is intent on restoring the Davis Bay Wharf to its former glory — even improving it. Some of the Wharf Rats are original users of the pier, built in 1950.
Wharf Rat member Margaret Pearson remembers spending her childhood at the public dock, playing in the water and basking in the sun.
“We were always down there,” she recalled.
Pearson worked with a group of people wanting to restore the pier many years ago, but the momentum subsided without any improvement to the aging dock, which once boasted a wharf shed, expanded walkway and moorage for boaters.
“Really it was Marg [Pearson] who brought it back into the community consciousness. She brought it forward and that is sort of where the name of this little committee is coming from too, because Marg and some other members were genuinely Wharf Rats, i.e. 10 to 12 year olds who lived down there,” said former Sechelt mayor and Wharf Rat member Bruce Milne.
The desire to fix up the landmark in Davis Bay has been long standing in the community, he explained.
“This is a project that’s sort of been on the back burner in people’s minds for quite a while actually, at least since Chevron turned the wharf over to the District,” Milne said, noting it happened some time during his term in the late 1990s.
At that time it was the priority of council to get the seawall fixed up first.
“We just couldn’t do everything,” Milne recalled. “So the idea of restoring the wharf was there in the late 1990s, but it slid away, and then subsequent councils and community people got active in other things.”
However, last summer Pearson decided to rally the troops again. At her urging, the Davis Bay-Wilson Creek-Selma Park Community Association struck the Wharf Rats committee to push for pier restoration. Soon the Davis Bay Parkway Society pledged their support, and this year the District of Sechelt caught the spirit, saying they would to spend up to $100,000 on studies and new concept designs for the iconic landmark.
The Wharf Rats hope the outcome of that process will be a commitment from the District to improve the wharf, but they don’t expect the District to foot the entire bill.
Currently the Wharf Rats are raising money by selling engraved planks to the public for $100 each and they have a gazebo ready to erect on the expanded dock, which was donated to them by West Coast Log Homes.
The group will be selling planks during the Canada Day long weekend along the Davis Bay seawall. If you want to donate or get involved, look for them there, email email@example.com or call 604-885-2752.
The Wharf Rats want to make the Davis Bay wharf platform larger by building on the pilings off to the side of the dock, make the walkway wider to allow access for emergency vehicles and attach a year round float to the dock for public use.