New Westminster's iconic "W" at Pier Park removed due to fire damage

Sep 18 2020, 11:33 am

The iconic “W” at New Westminster’s Pier Park has been removed as a result of extensive fire damage.

Properly known as the WOW Westminster public art installation by Brazilian artist José Resende, the City says that the piece was removed on Wednesday.

“New Westminster Fire and Rescue Services and engineering staff worked diligently since the early hours Monday morning to develop a plan to safely remove the sculpture and maintain the integrity of the installation,” says the City in a statement. “Unfortunately, it could not be saved.”

According to the emergency response command centre, the timber wharf which the art piece was installed on had become too unstable. Connections between the installation and wharf were so degraded that “it was not possible to remove WOW Westminster in its intact form in a safe way.”

New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote says that the piece was “iconic to our city and waterfront.”

“We did everything in our power to save it,” he says. “But we weren’t able to do it in a way that was feasible and safe.”

The 140 ft installation was installed five years ago as part of an open-air museum presentation. It’s made up of four 40 ft shipping containers and sat along the Fraser River.

On Thursday afternoon, police also announced that a suspect had been arrested in relation to the devastating fire. One male was arrested and released on a number of conditions while police and fire crews continue to investigate the blaze.

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