The storm that battered the Semiahmoo Peninsula last week was one of the worst to hit White Rock’s waterfront in years, officials say.
“There’s significant damage,” Greg St. Louis, the city’s director of engineering and municipal operations, said Tuesday of the impact to East and West Beach.
While addressing East Beach erosion was already slated for this year, waves that further undermined areas of the promenade and washed away temporary measures to shore up the waterfront “just kind of made the situation a little bit worse for us,” St. Louis said.
“It’s unfortunate, but we knew we had issues with erosion and we were already set to deal with it.”
Winds of up to 90 km/h hit early last Thursday and stayed for several hours, knocking out power to thousands across southwest B.C., sending trees across roadways and creating dramatic waves that crashed over both White Rock’s promenade and the pedestrian walkway in Crescent Beach.
In West Beach, “the shoreline has been eroded substantially,” St. Louis said. Concrete barriers installed “a number of years” ago to curb erosion were uncovered by the pounding waves; one of the new pedestrian railway crossings was also impacted.
In Crescent Beach, the dike system was breached. Rip rap was thrown onto the pedestrian walkway in two locations, and some area backyards were flooded, said City of Surrey operations manager Rob Costanzo.
The impact was unexpected, but not catastrophic, he said.
It did, however, prompt steps to brace for what was initially expected to be an even stronger storm on Sunday. Crews, expecting winds to hit up to 105 km/h, erected a temporary wall at Beecher Street and Adams Lane.
It “gave us pause for concern,” Costanzo said of the forecast. “Thankfully, the wind died.”
Surrey assistant fire Chief Brian Woznikoski said South Surrey was the hardest hit by Sunday’s windstorm. Between 4 and 10 p.m., crews dealt with 106 incidents, about 90 per cent of which were in the city’s south end.
Thousands of Peninsula residents were again without power, including pockets affected when trees came down across wires.
In one area bordered by 48 Avenue, King George Boulevard, 26 Avenue and 180 Street, 3,193 customers were affected; just over 1,500 in an area bordered by 176 Street, 28 Avenue, 160 Street and 20 Avenue were also left in the dark by a tree across wires.