Installation of accessibility mat on White Rock Pier closer to becoming a reality

The City of White Rock says it has received partial funding to potentially install a mat that would stretch along the pier to improve accessibility.

City council says it has received a $25,000 grant from the Social Planning and Research Council of B.C. (SPARC BC), a charitable organization that works to promote accessibility and is best known for being the organization that administers the province’s accessible parking permit program.

As well, council received a $5,750 donation from the Self Advocates of Semiahmoo.

City staff says the mat will cost up to $115,000. A motion to fund the mat was voted down at the May 13 city council meeting, but council voted to go ahead with researching grant opportunities for the project.

Accessibility advocates have been calling on the city to install this mat for months, with a petition garnering over 1,000 signatures so far.

City Councillor Ernie Klassen says the mat will be six feet across in a colour that blends in with the existing structure. As well, he says it will benefit everyone, not just those with accessibility issues.

“In the winter, for example, the pier is very slippery… and there are hundreds of people who walk the pier and this would be added protection for that,” he said.

“[The pier is] 100 years old, the planks are crooked, the spacing between the planks is irregular, so it’s really a safety issue as well for all pedestrians.”

Klassen says the mat is being brought forward again at the next council meeting, which is scheduled for June 10.

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