The Wharf Rats are ready to unveil their plan for a restored and expanded Davis Bay wharf, and next Saturday the community will get their first opportunity to view the drawings and talk with the professionals involved.
The public unveiling will be held on Saturday, March 9, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Davis Bay Community Hall.
The project steering committee, dubbed the Wharf Rats (born out of the Davis Bay - Wilson Creek - Selma Park Community Association), has been working with professionals for months to design the wharf expansion estimated to cost $560,000.
Plans call for a 66 per cent larger platform complete with a gazebo, a wider walkway and a float to be added to the wharf, which has stood in the area since 1950.
Originally the Wharf Rats wanted to make the wharf accessible to emergency vehicle traffic, but were told the extra pilings that would need to be installed could cost nearly $1 million more, so they scrapped that plan.
However, the wharf's proposed float and wider walkway (just under three metres) are being applauded by local search and rescue groups.
“We've talked with the search and rescue and they've sent a letter of support and stressed that they really appreciate having a permanent float down there so they can get in and pick people up,” said Wharf Rat member Margaret Pearson. “They can get their boat in and they can pick somebody up if they need to, so they were really happy about that because between Gibsons and Halfmoon Bay it's the only place they can pick somebody up.”
The District of Sechelt has already earmarked $100,000 to restoring and expanding the iconic wharf in Davis Bay and is currently waiting to hear if an application for a grant under the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund will be approved for the project.
“We're not clear when we might hear about this, although other applications are being announced almost daily, so hopefully we'll have good news soon,” said Sechelt Mayor John Henderson.
Pearson said her group has already managed to sell 197 planks for the new wharf at $100 each and they expect more financial support after their public meeting. The planks, which will eventually be installed on the wharf, can be purchased and engraved with family names. There are about 100 planks still available to the public.
The Wharf Rats also plan to offer corporate sponsorship packages for $500, $1,500 and $5,000 that will see corporate donors' names engraved on a plaque to be fastened to the wharf.
The total number of planks sold to date plus the cost of the donated gazebo to be situated on the wharf equal about $55,000 of community investment in the project since it was first pitched in June 2012.
Pearson expects more support to come to the project once more people know about the plan because the wharf is well used and well loved by locals and tourists alike.
Its popularity has contributed to its apparent need for refurbishing.
“Every winter you watch it and the pilings are rocking back more and more and the platform is getting tighter and tighter because there's tons of people out there,” Pearson noted.
To find out more about the plan or to donate to the wharf restoration, come to the March 9 meeting, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Pearson at 604-885-7583.