7 to 11 – that’s all you’re going to get in terms of time you can actually be out on the pier when it opens.

View from the end of the pier as a Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker works its way across the lake minutes after leaving Burlington Bay.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 3, 2013.  It’s here! – The Brant Street Pier – that’s the line the city is using to announce that after more than ten years of toil and $20 million, although the city is saying It cost just $14 million, the Pier is going to be open to the public and for a few days we can set aside the concerns about the mistakes and the cost over runs and celebrate what we have.  We are going to be paying for the mistakes for some time but for this one day let us eat, drink and be merry.

And without being cynical – the pier is going to be an absolute delight.  We have watched the construction from the day we got a look inside the electrical room looking for light standards that no one could find to the day when the new contractor began stripping away all the beams put in place the first time around

It is something to be out at the end of the pier and look out over the lake.  The ships that pass by seem just that much closer – it makes you feel as if you are part of a shipping town.  You can watch ships jut their bows outside through the lift bridge as they edge of out the lake from Burlington Bay.

While the node with the beacon on it isn’t all that high it certainly gives you a sense as to what the pier itself looks like.

You will find that you go through different stages as you walk out to the end.  It’s rather a nice wide open space at the front end and then narrows a bit as you walk through the twists in the S-shaped design.

Right at the very end, weeks before the construction neared completion, Pepper Parr, Publisher of Our Burlington and Craig Stevens, pier project manager for the city, stand looking back into the city.  Within two weeks thousands of Burlingtonians will have the same experience.  All the guard rails will be in place by then.

Once you are out over the water you will begin to see all kinds of barn swallows flying around – hundreds of them have taken up residence underneath the pier where they have made nests from bits of mud and grass they have picked up along the edge of the lake and created nests.  Over time we may see a very extensive colony of these birds – not sure how thy will co-exists with the gulls that have fouled the surface of the pier.

Every structure has its secrets and the pier, we have found, has its own delights that you discover over time.

The pier sings.  Yes, the pier sings.

The rails that run from the beginning of one side all the way around to the end of the other side of the pier are a brilliant blue – the colour is officially known as Burlington Blue – although some are saying it is Maple Leaf blue – they wish.  Beneath the rails are strands of steel wire roap that prevent anyone from falling over – it’s a long drop.

On a windy day, and it seems as if there is always a bit of a breeze out at the end of the pier there is a spot just behind the bottom on the node on the west side where the wind whistles through the steel wire rope and the aluminum balustrades and evokes different tunes.  Over time we are sure that visitors to the pier will discover other places where the pier will sing.

The amount of time you get to actually spend on the pier – appears to have limits – which is going to disappoint many.  There is a sign that will go up later this week setting out all the rules that apply to the place.  A pleasant walk to the end of the pier after a special night that included dinner downtown is going to have to take place before 11:00 pm.

The pier is a park and it has hours of admission apparently.   7 am to 11 pm – that’s what you get. So much for being out at the end and watching the sun rise with a thermos of hot coffee.

The design doesn’t appear to have fences or gates to keep people off the pier; there are bollards that narrow the openings to the pier to keep nut cases who decide to try and drive their cars out onto the structure.

The guard rails are not in place yet nor are the benches that will be put in place – a total of 16 benches are being installed. Additional benches could get put in place in the future if the need becomes evident.

There is no word yet on what kind of policing there will be on the pier.

It will take the city awhile to get used to the structure.  It is certainly an experience to walk out to the end and just experience the lake and the passing ships.

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1 comment to 7 to 11 – that’s all you’re going to get in terms of time you can actually be out on the pier when it opens.

  • Penny Hersh

    Once again we disagree on the “BEAUTY” of the Pier….I look at it every day from my condo which is on the 15th Floor….It looks absolutely ridiculous. There is no flow….it abruptly ends with nothing at the end to entice people. The “CAGE” which is supposed to mimic a lighthouse is an absolute joke. There is no reason to walk to the end of the Pier. There is no where to sit and ENJOY the view.

    It will simply be a magnet for every drunk to see if they can jump off the pier on a Friday or Saturday evening…..I have been told that it will cost $50,000.00 a year to maintain the Pier. If it is deemed necessary to have extra security I would have to think that this will add to the yearly cost. I have not seen anything about this in your reports.