Waterfront park in New Westminster reopens 7 months after devastating fire

·1 min read
The reopened Westminster Pier Park features a new play area. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC - image credit)
The reopened Westminster Pier Park features a new play area. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC - image credit)

A major waterfront park in New Westminster, B.C., has reopened more than half a year after a deliberately set fire destroyed parts of the attraction and smouldered for days in the old creosote-soaked timbers underneath.

"We're pleased to announce that Westminster Pier Park will be opening on Friday, April 2nd" wrote the city in a tweet.

The rebuilt parts of the park between Front Street and the Fraser River, which opened in 2012 and features a 600 metre-long boardwalk, includes a new play area.

The fire began on the evening of Sept. 13, 2020, shooting bright flames into the air as firefighters scrambled to respond.

Westminster Pier Park was closed for around seven months after the fire.
Westminster Pier Park was closed for around seven months after the fire.(Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

The fire smouldered until Sept. 24 and the smoke from the blaze, combined with wildfire smoke at the time, sent New Westminster's air quality plummeting to some of the worst levels in the world.

The large art installation Wow Westminster — four shipping containers in the shape of a "W" — was damaged in the fire and has been removed from the pier.

Firefighters battled the fire at the Westminster Pier Park for hours on Sept. 13, 2020. Officials said the blaze worked its way into the creosote pilings underneath the park and it eventually burned for 10 days before it was extinguished.
Firefighters battled the fire at the Westminster Pier Park for hours on Sept. 13, 2020. Officials said the blaze worked its way into the creosote pilings underneath the park and it eventually burned for 10 days before it was extinguished. ( Curtis Kreklau)

Charges

In October, 49-year-old Sean Warnick was charged with mischief to property over $5,000 and arson damaging property. He was released from custody with conditions.