A piece of Brian David’s childhood was destroyed Thursday and the long-time Chase resident is angry that he — and others — didn’t get a chance to say goodbye.
David found out from his wife that the 200-metre-long red wharf that was the focal point of many summer days and nights was demolished.
He said Friday he knew it was going to happen eventually — Chase is too small a community for anyone to not be aware that the old, wooden wharf was in bad shape and slated for replacement.
But it was torn from its pilings without ceremony, without tribute, without a farewell or a final photo or a last walk.
And that, David said, was wrong.
“My wife came up and said ‘Did you hear on the radio it’s down?’
‘The wharf is down.’
“I was shocked,” he said.
“Hearing about it through the media was just awful. My heart just sank.”
His family moved to Chase in 1961, when he was six. The red-railed wharf was where locals went to swim, including a doctor who did regular laps.
“The Dunn girls were lifeguards out there. Every adolescent boy’s goal was to pass their swimming test out there,” he said. “They were cute as buttons. We worked hard to pass our swim test.”
Those who passed got to swim off the wharf’s end. The red railing served as a diving platform. The wharf was a gathering spot for local families.
“It was a social time as well as recreation.”
David didn’t dispute the fact the 60-year-plus wharf was doomed to be replaced, but it was the fact that no one gave notice of when it was happening. And the fact it happened without any acknowledgement of the wharf’s role in the community.
“I have a huge feeling of great disappointment and great disbelief that as a community we weren’t informed of the specific date the wharf was coming down and that we didn’t engage in a celebration,” he said.
“As a community, we didn’t do anything to see its passing. Quite frankly, I’m disappointed in our leaders and village council for letting this pass by.”
But Mayor Ron Anderson said the wharf project has been in the works for a couple of years and there was lots of consultation and publicity.
“It’s been brought up at many, many meetings,” he said.
“We plan on having a ceremony once the new one is built.”
Construction on the replacement has already begun, with pilings being driven next week.
“They think they can have it done by April.”
The contractor is responsible for disposing of the old wharf, but some of the wood has been piled up on the beach for anyone to take.
David visited the pile Thursday after hearing about the wharf’s demise. He took a small chainsaw with him.
“There was a little sign there, free wood. I cut up some of the wood, there was just a little bit there, as memory wood. I’m going to use it in a construction project and in that way I will always remember over 50 years of memories that I spent on that red wharf. I know there are hundreds of other residents in Chase who share the same feeling about the memories,” he said.
“While I was down there, an old resident came by. She was in shock.”
David is building a new house. The pieces of memory, of childhood, that he salvaged will be built into it.
“It’ll go somewhere — in the man cave,” he said.
“It was a sad morning for me, a sad day. I truly thought we would be informed as a community, the specific date and council and the chamber would invite the public down and celebrate the life of this wonderful wharf. We didn’t do anything.”