The Cowichan Bay Wooden Boat Society’s pier reconstruction project has received a big boost in its fundraising campaign with a $7,640 donation from 100 Women Who Care Cowichan.
Sylvia Berryman, the society’s new executive director, said the aging and closed 89-metre pier adjacent to the Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre, which the society runs, requires immediate rehabilitation, with costs estimated to be almost $1 million, if it is to be reopened.
She said the society has launched “The Pile Drive” fundraiser to raise money for the required work on the pier.
“Many of the grants available for such work require matching funds, so donations of any amount multiply in value once received,” she said.
“Donations can be made on our website at https://www.classicboats.org/ by clicking the donate button.”
The wooden pier, which was built by Standard Oil in 1925, has a distinct trestle-like structure, three small wooden buildings along the approach and a two-storey pavilion at its end.
In 2014, the society commissioned an engineer’s survey of the condition of the wooden pier and it recommended replacing the pier’s decaying pilings.
Some steel beams were added and parts of the substructure under the pavilion were repaired in 2018.
The funding for the work came from fundraising events, individual donations, and a $50,000 contribution from the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s regional grant-in-aid program.
In 2019, the society again hired engineers to visually assess the pier’s condition for insurance purposes.
The results were unfavourable and the pier was considered unsafe for public use and has been closed ever since.
“Culturally, rehabilitation of the heritage pier will preserve a significant piece of the community’s history; not only the heritage structure of the pier, but also the historic displays it houses, as well as the wealth of knowledge found in the centre and Cowichan Wooden Boat Society’s records, members and volunteers,” Berryman said.
“Environmentally, rehabilitation of the pier ensures the structure will not fall into a derelict state. Its conservation will protect the sensitive fish and wildlife habitats found in the Cowichan Koksilah estuary.”