That pier of ours just might become an election issue after all. And they thought it had gone away – silly people.

December 18. 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  Been awhile since we’ve heard anything on the pier.  Like children – when there is no noise you want to look in on them.

That mediation many thought was going to take place in January is not likely to take place for a number of months.  Why?

It was a great day in the history of the city.  The official opening of the Brant Street Pier – now the problems its construction created have to be cleaned up.  Looks like a Court room is the only place we can get this done.

Well turns out some “realizations” have brought about a shift in the thinking of several of the players in this rather expensive game.  You’ve heard the phrase – “there is an elephant in the room” – those involved in the pier litigation are realizing that the contractor was not the problem.

And the company that is the problem has recently realized they have a problem on their hands and they didn’t have their homework done and now they need time to dig through the mounds of paper and be ready for a trial.

Mediation is a step that must be taken before a trial can take place.  There is at least one player in the game that doesn’t see mediation as a solution to the grief they have had to go through – so mediation, when it does take place, might be very short.

We actually built the pier twice. First time it was built a crane toppled over ad revealed problems with the steel being used – it was all taken out. They ordered new steel and built it again. Now all the parties squabble over who is going to pay for the mistakes.

Getting trial dates set with so many companies involved is never easy.  Having a trial start in the middle of the summer would certainly tighten up things in the municipal election. 

What is clear is this:  there is a bit of a mess to clean up.  Under normal circumstances this would come under the normal day-to-day business of a municipal government but the pier became such a defining issue that took on a life of its own.

It became part of the agenda for three different mayors; each handled it quite differently.  For Mayor MacIsaac it was part of a dream that he left in decent shape as he turned over the chain of office.  For Mayor Jackson it was a problem he had hoped to ride all the way to the top – until the crane accident took place. Then it became an issue that gave a freshman candidate an issue to get elected on.  It wasn’t the pier and its problems that cost Jackson the election.

That young man will return to the pier for many years to see his hand print. At some point he will read about and understand how convoluted an exercise it was to get that pier built.

The Goldring administration thought their task was to clean up the mess and get the pier opened but along the way they missed several opportunities to keep the city out of a court room.  Those failures, when combined with the city’s significant and serious financial problems, are like chickens coming home to roost.  And coming home during an election year isn’t the kind of good news story people running for office like to tell.

Some distraction might take place in the Spring should the provincial government decide they need to get a majority and Kathleen Wynne decides to ask the Lieutenant Governor to call an election.

Much of January will be taken up with budget deliberations.  The 10% increase over the four-year term that Mayor Goldring tied himself to will weigh him down a bit – it will be interesting to see what this Council decides it is prepared to give up.

Once the budget for the next year is cast – the election race will take on energy of its own.  And that is just about the time that the whole story behind the pier might come to the surface.


Pier legal problems always discussed behind closed doors.

Pier gets a soft opening.

New steel girders begin to arrive – progress.

New pier tender opening delayed.

Return to the Front page

Why does all the talk talk about the pier court case get done behind closed doors all the time? Because they don’t want YOU to know.

November 13, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  We got asked to leave – again.  Council, meeting as a Standing Committee, was going to take a break for a fast lunch and then re-convene to hear what city solicitor Nancy Shea Nicol had to tell them about the latest in the Brant Street Pier saga.

Happy campers? Part of the legal team representing the city in their battle with Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd.,  and AECOM

The lawyers who do the heavy lifting for the city were waiting patiently in the Council foyer to update Council on how things were going.  The lawyers are still in the Discovery process where we understand that the information being “discovered” is not all that good for the city’s case against Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd. (HSS), the contractor that decided to give up on the job when he believed the plans he was given would not work and AECOM, the company that was managing the project for the city.

The company that did the design of the pier Totten Sims Hubicki  (TSH), was a private entity when they got the job to do the design work but they were bought out by AECOM during the construction of the pier.  That purchase apparently didn’t raise eyebrows at the time.

This court case has been going on since March of 2011 and the city is believed to have spent a significant amount of money going after the people they feel damaged the city.

The pier design that seems to be the cause of most of the problems, was approved in 2003, after several changes.  The city then selected Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd. as the General Contractor ion August of 2006.

The pier opened to great fanfare – oddly many of the political types who got the idea off the ground didn’t attend.  Most had good reasons.

It opened to much fanfare in June of this year.

While the lawyers were in court doing battle the city re-tendered the project and brought in a firm that was strong in western Canada to complete the job.  The pier opened successfully  in June and has proven to be a very popular place.  The people paying for the pier would like to have gotten better value and the original contractor who is being sued by the city and also counter suing the city would like to get paid for the work he has done.  There is a couple of million dollars in invoices that have yet to be paid.

The legal costs mount and the Mayor has promised to tell all – once the court case has been settled.  Council has gone into closed session three times in the last 60 days which suggests something is going on and it may not be going the way the city had thought when they originally decided to take legal action.

There is much more to this story.  The suffering tax payers in this province might find themselves facing a provincial election in the spring and a municipal election in the fall with all the details of a significant law suit snuck in between those two events.

The pier was an issue in the 2010 election and might be an even bigger issue in the 2014 election.


They promised to tell you everything – even hired spin doctors.

Return to the Front page

Pier court case still chugging away – legal fees getting higher and higher; public kept in the dark.

October 28, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  We don’t hear much about the Court cases related to the construction of the pier other than the Mayor saying he hoped to be able to tell the public just how much has been spent on lawyers so far.

There is much, much more to the legal quagmire the city has itself in.

The lawyers are STILL in their Discovery process; they were going through this phase for large parts of the week before last and some now realize that this case is not likely to get to Court in the near future.

No one is prepared to say just how much longer this process will go on.  Each of the parties involved in the dispute keeps asking questions of the city and every time that happens more information comes to the surface that results in even more questions

Involved in the litigation are the following corporations: Harm Schilthuis and Sons Limited vs. the Corporation of the City of Burlington

The Corporation of the City of Burlington vs. Zurich Insurance Company Ltd.

The Corporation of the City of Burlington vs. Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd., Aecom Canada Ltd., Lombard General Insurance Company of Canada, P.V &V Insurance Centre Ltd. et al (Insurance Claim)

The Corporation of the City of Burlington vs. Aecom Canada Ltd.

Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd. vs. Lombard General Insurance Company of Canada, P.V. & V Insurance Centre Ltd., the Corporation of the City of Burlington, Craneway Equipment Ltd. (Insurance Claim)

The week that Tom Eichenbaum was named  Engineer of the Year by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers and the Hamilton/Halton Engineering Week Committee, he also spent much of his time in Discovery being examined on his involvement related to the construction of the pier at the foot of Brant street.

The award recognizes those who “exemplify the character of the engineering profession and have inspired the young, contributed to their communities, excelled as engineers and researchers, fostered achievement in those around them, and mentored the next generation of engineers.”

Gathered out on the pier before construction was completed, from left to right are:  Brad Cassidy, Tom Eichenbaum, Craig Stevens and a Graham Infrastructure employee.

Some at city hall questioned the criteria used by the Engineering Society in the selection of members they wish to publicly acclaim.  Eichenbaum’s credibility had taken a big hit when the city manager had to apologize publicly for errors Eichenbaum had made around the inclusion of a wind turbine on the pier.  The city eventually decided to forget about including a wind turbine.

At some point an exasperated Judge will bring the Discovery process to a halt after which the parties involved have to take part in some form of mediation.  Can all this be done and then a trial take place before the next municipal election takes place on October 28, 2014?  Many are beginning to doubt that – which will make members of this council happy campers.  Were trial testimony to come out during an election all but one member of this Council would be wearing a thick coat of mud on their faces.

Ward two Councillor Marianne Meed Ward has been the only Councillor who has consistently said the city has significant responsibility for errors made and that a settlement has been possible for some time.

It is believed that the office of the city’s solicitor has become concerned about the quality of the city’s case and that there are two members of Council suggesting the city look for a way to settle.  The Gazette is not aware of who the second Councillor might be.

We do know that at the end of each Discovery session transcripts are on the desks of all the lawyers involved the following day and pored over in some detail by city legal staff.  We are advised that the information in those transcripts has not improved the city’s position.

In the event that the case actually goes to trail all this information will become public.

The public loves the pier – they just don’t know yet what the full cost is going to be. The total cost will be a whopper. High enough to make political heads roll? The politicians just might manage to run out the clock.

Meanwhile the public just loves the pier.  Ask people how they feel about the cost and they just shake their heads and wonder what they can do about any of that at this point in time.

Wait until they hear how much the city is going to have to take from taxpayers to settle the judgement that many expect to see Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd.  awarded.

At some point the city might decide it is time to settle – they have had at least one opportunity to do so.  If they do look for a gag order to ensure the public never gets the details.

The public does not yet have any detail on the waterfront land the city has decided to sell to private interests.  The law suits surrounding the construction of the pier might get the same “you don’t need to know” treatment.


City’s Court case.

Return to the Front page

That didn`t take very long: pier records its first assault.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. June 26, 2013.  Shortly after midnight , last night, a group of friends were visiting the Burlington Pier when they started conversing with another group of males.

Without warning, the group of males grabbed one of the men and one of them struck him in the head with a bottle.

The group then ran off, pursued by one of the victim’s friends.  Police were notified and located the accused near the intersection of Burlington Avenue and Lakeshore Road.

The accused was arrested and held for a bail hearing.

ACCUSED:  Mohammed ISSE, 31 yrs, of Brampton

 CHARGES:  Assault Cause Bodily Harm and Assault with a Weapon 

 The victim, an 18-year-old Stoney Creek youth, was taken to Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital, treated for a head wound and released.

The public has taken to the pier – trey love the place. Others that don’t have a lot of love in their hearts throw bottles at one another – let’s beef up the security.

The pier has been open for less than two weeks – clearly it’s become the place to be for people from Stoney Creek.   Is it a safe place to be?  Of course it is – but some security presence wouldn’t hurt and video surveillance might be a good idea as well.

Return to the Front page

No pier trial until Spring of 2014 at best; watch for a decision to go the mediation route.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 26, 2013.  Remember that meeting that was to take place at the Court House in Milton; the one where all the lawyers involved in the pier lawsuits were to meet and get their ducks lined up; the one that was going to be open to the public and then at the last-minute got switched from an open court to a teleconference call – that one?

Well, they figured some of the stuff out.  The presiding judge determined that all the discovery stuff has to be completed by September.  The consensus of all the suits was that a trial date would not be any time before May/June of 2014.

Will the citizens be out marching in the streets along with the Burlington Teen Tour Band when the city announces they have settled all the pier related lawsuits in a closed mediation session?

Somewhere in between everyone has to at least make a stab at considering mediation, a process where everyone goes into a room and looks for a way to settle their differences behind closed doors.  Everything said during mediation is confidential and never gets released and that would certainly suit city hall.

Given the position the city is on – mediation is their best hope.  They are going to have to settle withHenry Schilthuis and Sons Ltd., the contractor who came to the conclusion that the pier could not be built with the plans he was given  – Burlington will be giving them a cheque and then work at getting as much they can from Aecom.

June of 2014 is when we begin to learn who is going to run for office in 2014 and the last thing this city council wants is a public trial in the middle of an election.

Will the city do the right thing and tell you how much they spent on legal fees before the election?  During the election remember that it was Mayor Goldring and Councillor Marianne Meed Ward who voted to release those numbers – the rest voted no – don’t tell the public how their money was spent.

Return to the Front page

Mayor and Meed Ward wanted you to know – the rest of council decided you have to wait to learn legal costs of pier.

By Pepper Parr.

BURLINGTON, ON.   June 19, 2013  They did get close, well not that close,  but they did talk about it.  And when it was all over – two of the seven voted to let you know how much the city had spent on defending and fighting for the city’s interests related to the construction of the Brant Street Pier that most of the people seem to have fallen in love with.

After a weekend of opening events tucked inside the Sound of Music Festival the pier was opened to the public and you can now walk out to the end and enjoy the lake the way you were never able to enjoy it before.

Earlier in the week the city released a Memorandum that actually said something about the legal fight.

There are five lawsuits: the city is suing people in some and defending itself in others.  The people who provided the insurance and then failed to give the city as much as a dime when the contractor walked off the job seem to be involved in all the lawsuits.

The following represents factual information respecting the litigation:

Harm Schilthuis and Sons Limited vs. the Corporation of the City of Burlington

The Corporation of the City of Burlington vs. Zurich Insurance Company Ltd.

The Corporation of the City of Burlington vs. Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd., Aecom Canada Ltd., Lombard General Insurance Company of Canada, P.V &V Insurance Centre Ltd. et al (Insurance Claim)

The Corporation of the City of Burlington vs. Aecom Canada Ltd.

Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd. vs. Lombard General Insurance Company of Canada, P.V. & V Insurance Centre Ltd., the Corporation of the City of Burlington, Craneway Equipment Ltd. (Insurance Claim).

Electronically coded documents were exchanged in the December 2012 to January 2013 time frame.

The parties are currently in the Examination for Discovery phase of the litigation.  It is a lengthy process. To date there have been approximately 17days of examination.  The examinations have resulted in a considerable number of undertakings being given by the parties being examined.  An undertaking may contain an obligation to find an answer to a question or to produce further documents in response to a question posed.  Often the people who are being examined don’t have all the information to respond fully to the questions being asked by the other parties.  Some undertakings may not be agreed upon by opposing parties and could require a court attendance for a determination as to whether or not the undertaking is valid.

It is expected that the examinations for discovery will be completed in the early fall of 2013 after the undertakings have been answered.

The next court appearance is scheduled for June 21st, 2013 at the Superior Court of Justice in Milton at 10:00 am.  The Milton Courthouse is located at 491 Steeles Ave. E., Milton Ontario.

It is a case management conference before Mr. Justice James Fitzpatrick the purpose of which is to address issues of scheduling and procedure.  The matter is generally open to the public, subject to the presiding Judge’s direction otherwise.  The city will be represented at the case management conference by external legal counsel, Mr. Andy McLauchlin of McLauchlin and Associates.

At some point in the proceedings and prior to a trial taking place, the Court will order that the parties engage in mediation to see if the issues can be resolved.  The parties have to agree on a mediator.  Mediation does not make a determination of the legal rights of the parties.  Mediation is not binding and the mediator cannot impose a resolution on the parties.  Mediation is a process conducted on “without prejudice: basis, it is private and all documents filed are matters discussed are “confidential” to the parties.

The city would like to take steps to encourage the other parties to agree to an early,  voluntary mediation process rather than wait until it is ordered by the Court in order to see if an early resolution to the litigation can be found.

That’s the city’s position – it is carefully worded and is an interesting example of how one manages the news.  The politicians call it “spinning” the news.

The city manager recently got approval to spend up to $10,000 on consultants who could advise on communications and legal matters.  This release is the first glimpse of what the city is getting for what it is paying those “communications” consultants.

During the council committee earlier in the week the city waived its lawyer/client privilege and discussed the document.  Meed Ward wanted to know when the case started – 2010 they were told.

They were told that 60,000 documents have been released and that the city is still digging out information they have been asked to provide.  We have learned that Harm Schilthuis and Sons Limited  (HSS)  claims they have provided everything they were asked to provide and are ready to proceed to trial, which is strange given that city solicitor advised that there have been 17 full days of discovery and they expect there to be an additional four or five days.

Nancy Shea-Nicol, the city’s solicitor does not like speaking in open session.  She did not want to say who was discovering whom.  Ms Shea-Nicol keeps every card she has very close to her chest.   Tell them as little as possible seems to be her modus operandi.

We understand that the city has yet to release all the documents it has been asked for.

During the council committee meeting members asked – when can we tell the public how much we have spent on legal fees?  That was another matter and for a few minutes there was some interesting discussion but then they moved into closed session.

The city manager said he thought the number should be made public.  Councillor Meed Ward said she wanted to see the numbers released to the public. “The public has a right to know” said another  council member.  There was quite a bit of posturing going on.

The Mayor was for releasing the numbers.  Councillor Sharman wanted to know what the downside of doing that was – and was told that would be discussed in a CLOSED session.  Councillors Lancaster, Craven and Dennison did not offer an opinion or make a comment on whether or not the number should be released.

Councillor Taylor was chairing the meeting and made no comment in open session.

We do know that everyone wants documents from the designers of the pier, Totten Sims Hubicki (TSH).  This case appears to rest on whether or not the pier could have been built using the design given to the contractor.

The first design was released to the contractors who were interested in bidding on the tender they expected the city to issue.  It didn’t take that group of contractors very long to realize then that the pier set out in the original drawings could not be built for the amount of money the city was willing to spend.

The prices that came in were way beyond what the city was prepared to spend.  That meant the city had a design and no one who was prepared to build it.  So they went back to the designers and said – ‘give us a design that can be built for the money we have’.  And that we believe, based on the questions we have asked and the documents we have seen, is what this case will rest on.

The city revised the design to fit the budget they had and produced a design that just would not work.  Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd., realized that and quit the job and then sued the city.  The city counter-sued and dragged in all the insurance companies.

All the steel thought to be faulty is stripped away – stored in a warehouse should further testing have to be done. Now the task of ordering new steel and getting it in place begins.

Before Schilthuis arrived at the point where they knew they had to quit the project a crane that was being used toppled over.  That not only stopped the project but brought to light all kinds of problems with the quality of the steel being used.

What complicates all this is that the city had a designer Totten Sims Hubicki (TSH) working for them and another company, AECOM, managing the project.

AECOM then bought Totten Sims Hubicki (TSH) and that created significant conflicts.  The project manager was now administering and keeping accountable a company they now owned.  Messy.

The pier design was different.  No one else has a design like ours.  Piers tend to go straight out into a body of water; the Brant Street Pier has a S design and was to have a wind turbine as well.

Many believe that when AECOM bought TSH the city should have gotten themselves another project manager.  That may prove to have been a very expensive mistake on the part of the city.

What further complicates this mess is that most of the people who dealt with these matters are no longer in the employ of the city.

Much was made in the document the city released, of the desire on the city’s part to consider mediation; a process where everyone goes into a room and agrees to settle or not to settle.  The settlement amount should be public but with this administration and the way our city solicitor thinks – one never knows.

It was a grand parade. The band played, the flags flew and there was applause as the Burlington Teen Tour Band stepped out onto the pier. It was a sight to warm the cockles of ones heart as the BTTB marched up the slope and out onto the pier.

But that is all you get to hear – the facts?  They get buried – and that is the way this city would like to see this whole thing go away.  The pier is open, the natives seem happy and it will be years before this goes to trial.  Half of this council won’t be in place when there is a decision.

To be fair to Mayor Goldring – he wasn’t part of the decision making process when the pier became a city project.  Only Councillors Craven, Taylor and Dennison were around then.  And Craven was just a newbie at the time as well.



Return to the Front page

This is almost as good as the Sunshine list. Who is seeing who at city hall? They don’t tell us why. Maybe next year.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 19, 2013  Who sees who at city?  Ever wonder about that?  Who are the chief cheeses talking to?   How often do they meet?  What do they talk about?

 Journalists don`t get access to that kind of information from city hall.  THAT has changed.  City manager Jeff Fielding is doing things differently.  The data that follows was submitted to a Council Committee by Leah Bisutti but she didn’t compile the list because she had nothing better to do.

Who met with whom – and why? City Manager Jeff Fielding on the left breaks bread with his General Managers: Kim Phillips and Scott Stewart. Fielding has given transparency for this city.

The report was an executive decision that would have been cleared by Council but other than the appearance of the report, it didn’t get as much as a word of comment by anyone on Council, It is a list of who  General Managers Scott Stewart and Kim Campbell plus City manager Jeff Fielding met with.

 The date of the meeting isn’t given; which of the three had the meeting isn’t revealed and the subject matter is given.  When a location appears at the end of theline, that is the city the meeting took place in

  “Outreach”, says the report, “ is an effort by individuals in an organization to connect its ideas or practices to the efforts of other organizations and is an important aspect in the understanding of Burlington’s citizens, businesses and community groups.”

The General Managers and City Manager collectively met with over 252 members of the

Burlington community in 2012.

 There are some limitations to what is put out.  The data is for 2012 – which means some of it could be as much as 18 months old.  Yet if you glean through the data you learn that someone – the city manager, or one of the General Managers met with Tim Crawford and Vince Rossi of the Air Park.   The understanding one got as we listened to the delegation at Council on June 10th was that one of  these two men was a stranger to at least General Manager Scott Stewart.  So who did they meet and what was the conversation about? 

 It is an interesting list.  Could be done quarterly.  And the Mayor might want to produce such a list as well.

 Lynn Fergusson, 2H2M Consulting, Burlington

Kathie Bavota, 3M

Paul Smeltzer, AMEC

Ron Scheckenberger., AMEC

Ang Cutaia.AMEC

Jim Detlor, AML Communications

Don Dalicandro, Apex Systems, Burlington

Lawrence Chiaravalle, ARI Fleet Management, Mississauga

Stan Capobianco, Associated Paving, Burlington

Angelo Bentivegna, Beauty & the Bistro, Burlington

Doug Brown BFast (Transportation Committee), Burlington

Richard Burgess, Burlington Theatre Board, Burlington

Allan Pearson Burlington Theatre board, Burlington

Denise Walker, Burlington Theatre board, Burlington

Graham Frampton, BPAC Staff, Burlington

Brenda Heatherington, BPAC Staff, Burlington

Arden Semper, Branthaven Developments, Burlington

Jacques Des Ormeaux, Bromont ville branchee, Bromont, QC

John Farquharson, Bruce Trail Conservancy, Burlington

Ian Ross, Burlington Art Centre, Burlington

Keith Hoey, Burlington Chamber of Commerce, Burlington

Kim Coulter, Burlington Condominium Working Group, Burlington

Ed Keenleyside, Burlington Condominium Working Group, Burlington

Karen Reynolds, Burlington Condominium Working Group, Burlington

Brian , Dean, Burlington Downtown Business Association, Burlington

Tim Crawford, Burlington Executive Airport, Milton

Vince Rossi, Burlington Executive Airport, Milton

Don DeSaverio, Burlington Golf & Country Club, Burlington

Amy Schnurr, Burlington Green Community Group, Burlington

Dan Guatto, Burlington Hydro, Burlington

Michael Kysley, Burlington Hydro, Burlington

Gerry Smallegange, Burlington Hydro, Burlington

Joe Saunders, Burlington Hydro, Burlington

Vince Jones, Burlington Hyundai, Burlington

Barb Teatero, Burlington Museum, Burlington

Maureen Barry, Burlington Public Library, Burlington

Chris Byrnes, Burlington Radio Station, Burlington

Phil Papadopoulos, California Hairworks, Burlington

Roger Caranci, Caranci Consulting, London

Nick Carnicelli, Carriage Gate Homes

Dawn Braddock, Centre for Skills Development, Burlington

Cathy Mills, Centre for Skills Development, Burlington

Will Letts, Charles Sturt University, Burlington

Larry Chettle, Chettle Real Estate, Burlington

Rick Johal, City of Kitchener, Kitchener

Don Crossley, Clean-Air Solutions, Hamilton

Jeremy Freiburger, Cobalt Connects

Michel Blais, Cogeco Cable, Trois Rivieres, PQ

Tim Brown, Cogeco Cable, Burlington

Claudette Paquin, Cogeco Cable Burlington

Risha Burke,Community Development Halton, Burlington

Joey Edwardh, Community Development Halton, Burlington

Ken Phillips, Conservation Halton, Burlington

Bob Edmondson, Conservation Halton, Burlington

Gary Guthrie, Covenco

Dwight Ryan, Daryan Communications, Burlington

Sheila Botting, Deloitte

Doug Emerson, Deloitte, Oakville

Tracey Hare Connell, Deloitte

Evan McDade, Deloitte, Burlington

Anita Shinde, Deloitte, Toronto

Dennis Kar, Dillon Consulting

Allan Pearson, Discovery Ford / BPAC Board, Burlington

John van Leeuwen, EcoSynthetix, Burlington

Diane Locke, Ellis Locke

Ken Hall, Enbridge Pipelines

Barbara Fox, Enterprise Canada, Toronto

Adam Scott, Environmental Defence, Toronto

Julie Pehar, Equity Vision, Toronto

Cal DiFalco, Executive Consultant, – PPP, Mediation, Change, Stoney Creek

Eamonn Horan-Lunney, FCM, Ottawa

Kevin Brady, FDH Lawyers, Burlington

Brian Heagle, FDH Lawyers, Burlington

Anissa Hilborn, FDH Lawyers, Burlington

Michael Fenn, Fenn Advisory Services, Inc. Burlington

Mark Friedman, Fiscal Policy Studies Institute, Santa Fe, New Mexico

James Smith, Friends of Freeman Station, Board President, Burlington

Brian Aasgaard, Friends of Freeman Station, Vice President, Burlington

Mike Wallace, Government of Canada, Member of Parliament

John Connolly, Graham Construction

Deb Harvey, Grand Theatre, London

Michael Pautler, Halton Catholic District School Board / United Way Fundraising Cabinet

David Euale, Halton District School Board / United Way

Domenico Renzella, Halton District School Board, Burlington

Gerry Cullen, Halton District School Board, Burlington

Chris Murray, City of Hamilton, Hamilton

Art Zuidema, City of Hamilton, Hamilton

Bob Bratina, City of Hamilton, Hamilton

Peggy Chapman, City of Hamilton, Hamilton

Bill Fitzgerald, Hamilton Port Authority, Hamilton

Bruce Wood, Hamilton Port Authority, Hamilton

Paul Berton, Hamilton Spectator (a Metroland co.), Hamilton

Michael Barton, Hamilton-Halton Homebuilders Association Hamilton

Mathieu Langelier, Hamilton-Halton Homebuilders Association, Hamilton

Henry Schilthuis, Harm Schilthuis & Sons, Ancaster

Jim Clemens, Heritage Burlington, Burlington

Archie Bennett, Hydro Board member, Burlington

Luis Carrasco-Cortes, IBM Canada, Burlington

D. Scott Lightfoot, IBM Canada, Burlington

John Longbottom, IBM Canada, Burnaby, BC

Doug Pass, IKEA, Burlington

Jeff Young, iLOOKabout, London

Phil Evenden, Integrity Wealth Management, Burlington

Fraser Johnson, Ivey School of Business, London

Gerard Seijts, Ivey School of Business, London

Frank Harrison, J.S. Steel Canada, Hamilton

Gary Johnson, Jetport

Henry Decker, Joseph Brant Hospital, Burlington

Mario Joannette, Joseph Brant Hospital, Burlington

Florene Lobo, Joseph Brant Hospital, Burlington

Eric Vandewall, Joseph Brant Hospital, Burlington

Wayne Harrison, KNY Architects, Burlington

Brian Bourns, KPMG

Barry Frieday, KPMG, Hamilton

Bruce Peever, KPMG, Hamilton

Neville Knowles, Knowles Leadership, London

John Krpan, Krpan Group, Burlington

John Birch, LaSalle Park Marina, Burlington

Ken Dakin, Land Use Planning,  Burlington

Ken Goobie, Legal Shield

Liaquat Mian, LJM Developments, Burlington

Mark Gregory, LocoMotion Comm’ns & PR, Burlington

Keith Moore, LS Travel Retail -North America, Toronto

Paddy Torsney, Maximus

Matt Jaecklein, Mayrose-Tycon Limited / Bridgewater Devel., Milton

Wolf Teichmann, Bridgewater Development

Andrew Gurlesky, McLauchlin & Assoc. Barristers & Solicitors, Toronto

Andrew McLauchlin, McLauchlin & Assoc. Barristers & Solicitors, Toronto

Paul Bates, McMaster University -DeGroote School, Burlington

David Mammoliti, McMaster University -DeGroote School, Burlington

Andrea Mior, McMaster University -DeGroote School, Burlington

Paul Mace, Mercedes Benz Burlington, Burlington

David Harvey, Metroland West Media Group, Burlington

Debbi Koppejan, Metroland-Burlington Post, Burlington

Bruce McCuaig, Metrolinx, Toronto

Mo Ettehadieh, Mettko

John Alley, MHPM, Burlington

Andrew Cowan, MHPM, Ottawa

Gordon Kack, MHPM, Burlington

Ralf Nielsen, MHPM, Ottawa

Steve Howse, Millington & Assoc. Oakville

Tony Millington, Millington & Assoc. Burlington

Milt Farrow, Milt Farrow Associates Consultants, Oakville

Shanda Chronowich, MNP, (Corp. Emergency Preparedness Audit)

Vince Molinaro, Molinaro Group, Hamilton

Bruce Miller, Morrison Hershfield

Yvon Chiasson, MTE Consultants, Burlington

Dan Finelli, MTE Consultants, Burlington

John Goodwin, MTE Consultants, Burlington

Bill Veitch, MTE Consultants, Burlington

Ward Wilson, MTE Consultants, Burlington

Greg Berry, Municibid Online, Government Auctions

Quinn Moyer, Nelson Aggregates, Burlington

Jeff Paikin, New Horizon Homes, Hamilton

John Fleming, Occasional Consulting, Oakville

Ian Collins, Ombudsman Ontario, Toronto

Laura Pettigrew, Ombudsman Ontario, Toronto

Gillian Sheldon, Ontario Centres of Excellence, Mississauga

Steve Klein, Optimus SBR, Toronto

Pepper Parr, Our Burlington, Burlington

Angelo Paletta, Paletta International Corporation, Burlington

Stephen Kuhr, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Toronto

Raj Mohabeer, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Toronto

Sasha Pejcic, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Toronto

John Kuypers, Performance Shift Consulting, Burlington

Maureen Spencer, Golovchenko Pillar NonProfit Network, London

John Gotts, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Hamilton

Gerry Lewandowski, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Toronto

Anne Morash. Primaris Real Estate (Burlington Mall), Toronto

John Morrison, Primaris Real Estate (Burlington Mall) Toronto

Ted McMeekin, Province of Ontario, MPP

Deb Matthews, Province of Ontario, MPP, Minister

Larry Clay, Province of Ontario, Toronto

Claudio De Rose, Province of Ontario – MGS / Service Ontario, Toronto

Mark Christie, Province of Ontario (MMAH), Toronto

Andrew Doersam, Province of Ontario (MMAH), Toronto

Karen Wallace, Province of Ontario (MMAH), Toronto

Frank D’Onofrio, Province of Ontario / Service Ontario, Toronto

Art Komarov, Province of Ontario / Service Ontario, Toronto

Bob Chiarelli, Province of Ontario, -Minister of Transportation, Toronto

John Almond, Province of Ontario, -MNR, Aurora

Dan Petoran, Province of Ontario, -Service Ontario, Toronto

Michael Masotti, Province of Ontario -Tourism,Culture,Sport

Stephen Bauld, Purchase Consultants International

Laura Gainey, RBC Royal Bank, Toronto

John Lever, RBC Royal Bank, Burlington

Pat Moyle, Region of Halton, Oakville

Kendra Willard, Region of Halton, Oakville

Mitch Zamojc, Region of Halton, Oakville

Gary Carr, Region of Halton, Oakville

Craig Black, Rogers Communications

Gus Dimitropoulos, Rogers Communications

Deborah Herbert, Royal Botanical Gardens -Cootes to Escarpment, Burlington

Edith Fajszan, Royal Mutual Funds Inc., Burlington

John Chisholm, SB Partners, Burlington

Seniors Centre Board, Burlington

Lucia Casacia, Siemens, Burlington

Charles Halasz, Siemens, Burlington

Richard Jarsaillon, Siemens, Burlington

Marco Jungbeker, Siemens, Burlington

Demain Rebolloa von Duben, Siemens, Burlington

Ricky Law, SmartLock & Security Surveillance, Burlington

Paul Lowes, Sorensen Gravely Planning Associates, Toronto

John Best, Southern Ontario Gateway Council

Paul Sipos, Stark Architects, Mississauga

David McNaughton, Strategy Corp., Toronto

Ron Shaw, City of Stratford, Stratford

Mina Wahidi & Mr. Kim, Tansley Woods Café, Burlington

Debra Pickfield, ThinkSpot, Burlington

Tim Dobbie, Tim Dobbie Consulting, Burlington

Linda Moore, TNG Leaders

Brad Quinn, TNG Leaders

Pam Belgrade, Tourism Burlington, Burlington

Dennis Perlin, Town of Halton Hills, Halton Hills

Mario Belvedere, Town of Milton, Milton

Paul Cripps, Town of Milton, Milton

Ray Green, Town of Oakville, Oakville

Eric Lehtinen, Town of Oakville, Oakville

Dominic Lunardo, Town of Oakville, Oakville

Dave Bloomer, Town of Oakville, Oakville

Lynda Townsend, Townend & Associates, Barristers & Solicitors, Oakville

Joe Carapella, Tricar Group, London

Vic Cote, Trinity P3, London

Lesley Allison, United Way, Burlington

Robyn Knickle, United Way, Burlington

Len Lifchus, United Way, Burlington

Cathi Lacey, United Way Associate, Burlington

Gayle Cruikshank, United Way Fundraising Cabinet, Burlington

Wendy Derrick, United Way Fundraising Cabinet, Burlington

Jamie Edwards, United Way Fundraising Cabinet, Burlington

Brian Ferguson, United Way Fundraising Cabinet, Burlington

Chantel Goldsmith, United Way Fundraising Cabinet, Burlington

Sheila Jaggard, United Way Fundraising Cabinet, Burlington

Greg Jones, United Way Fundraising Cabinet, Burlington

Jason Lemaich, United Way Fundraising Cabinet, Burlington

Scott Massey, United Way Fundraising Cabinet, Burlington

Tim Miron, United Way Fundraising Cabinet Burlington

Judy Pryde, United Way Fundraising Cabinet Burlington

Richard Rizzo, United Way Fundraising Cabinet, Burlington

George Dark, Urban Strategies, Toronto

Tyler McDiarmid, Vrancor Group, Hamilton

Darko Vranich, Vrancor Group, Hamilton

Deborah Nicol, Want to Wow Gifts, Burlington

Marlaine Koehler, Waterfront Regeneration Trust, Toronto

Jamie Cook, Watson & Associates Economists, Mississauga

Bruce McNichol, Wentworth Technologies, Mississauga


Multiple Residents

Return to the Front page

There now – that didn’t hurt did it? City begins telling legal story about the pier. More to follow for sure.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. June 18, 2013 – The legal process related to the pre-2011 construction of the newly-finished Brant Street Pier is underway, with the city in court on June 21 and the matter in the discovery phase until the fall.

 The Brant Street Pier opened to the public on June 13, 2013, with official opening ceremonies taking place on June 14 and 15. The pier was completed by Graham Infrastructure, hired by the city in September 2011.

The city released a memo today that outlines the five lawsuits related to the pier. The memo is on the city’s Budget and Corporate Services Committee agenda for June 18. The five lawsuits are:

Harm Schilthuis and Sons Limited vs. the Corporation of the City of Burlington

The Corporation of the City of Burlington vs. Zurich Insurance Company Ltd.

The Corporation of the City of Burlington vs. Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd., Aecom Canada Ltd., Lombard General Insurance Company of Canada, P.V &V Insurance Centre Ltd. et al (Insurance Claim)

The Corporation of the City of Burlington vs. Aecom Canada Ltd.

Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd. vs. Lombard General Insurance Company of Canada, P.V. & V Insurance Centre Ltd., the Corporation of the City of Burlington, Craneway Equipment Ltd. (Insurance Claim)

The memo refers to the public court appearance on June 21 in Milton court to address scheduling and procedure. Andy McLauchlin of McLauchlin & Associates will represent the city.

 “We have promised openness and disclosure to the full amount possible to the people of Burlington,” said City Manager Jeff Fielding. 

 The pre-2011 pier project parties are in the examination for discovery phase of the legal action, which is a long process. Examinations for discovery should be completed in early fall 2013.

  “The city would like to take steps to encourage the other parties to agree to an early, voluntary mediation process rather than wait until it is ordered by the court in order to see if an early resolution to the litigation can be found,” states the city memo. 


Return to the Front page

THE Official Opening of the Brant Street Pier in Burlington, Ontario

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 15, 2013.  It opened – indeed it did and the event was wonderful to watch, a delight to be part of and a milestone for the city.  That milestone has the potential to become an albatross around the neck of this city but today is not the day to quibble.


It is done – it is open and the public seem to love it.  There were out in droves on the Saturday when the Burlington Teen Tour Band marched the full length of the pier and returned with the city lag snapping in the breeze. 

These things happen. The city decided their wouldn’t be a “ribbon cutting” but instead there would be a banner made up and stretched across the pier for the Burlington Teen Tour Band to march through making the opening of the pier. The sign was supposed to read Brant Street Pier NOW but the banner was longer than the space and – well the W of now got hidden.  Ooops!  Not an omen – please.

The applause was very real.   I’m not sure if those young men and woman in the BTTB were fully aware of what they were participating in –but it was an historic occasion for the city.

They were sticky, they were gooey, they were soft and moist – one per person with more than a thousand made up to be given away. Did you get one?

The city had more than 1000 cupcakes on hand to pass out – they were all used up.

Hard to say how many people actually visited the pier on the Saturday – it will have approached 5,000 by the time the day was over.

Now what?

The pier will find its place.  The city will come up with ways to program the location and people will see it as something that makes their city just that much different from any other city in the province.

The birthing pains were excruciating and we know that from this point forward every politician will talk about the event as something historic.  Hopefully it will move the politicians off that ‘safest city in the country” line they keep touting.

A picture that should be etched in the mind of every citizen in the city. Glorious!

It is interesting that they speak of the pier as the completion of the city’s waterfront park.  The question as to what the Region does with the Beachway Park to the west of Spencer Smith has yet to be determined and for the waterfront to have some harmony the two will have to – and should – complement one another.

All in the future – this weekend the city celebrates and acknowledges that we now have something no one else has –and it is truly wonderful.

Are there flaws, deficiencies and things that need to be fixed quick, quick?  You bet there are – but today is not the day to point to hose.

Point instead to that picture of the full Burlington Teen Tour Band marching back towards the city with the flags flying and the full band playing.

Return to the Front page

More than $14 million later – real number is $20 million – the pier opens and the people like it. It is a fine pier.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 14, 2013  For opening number two of the Brant Street Pier the God’s shone upon the city and the sun was out – the breeze from the lake was pleasant and, as has been standard for the pier – the opening was late by about a quarter of an hour.

A colour party from the Iron Duke Sea Cadet Corps in Burlington.

But it was a good occasion.  All the movers and shakers and the people who make things happen were out on the site.  The speeches were mercilessly short.  The guest list was very short as well – some real surprises as to who wasn’t on hand.  More on that later.

Seven hands – seven futures for the city.

The focal point was unveiling the plaque with the hand prints of seven young people, one from each council member.  The seven were chosen from the more than 440 who sent in an application along with their thoughts on what the pier would mean to them.

Theses seven were recognized when the final beam of the pier was bolted into place and had a section of steel with their names on it.  At that time their handprints were taken and later used to make casts from which a mold was made to cast the bronze plaque that was unveiled this afternoon.

That plaque is going to be out there for more than 100 years during which time those seven boys and girls will return again and again with their spouses, the children and their grandchildren.  It is a wonderful piece of local history.

What kind of a pier is it going to be?  Like a new restaurant, it will take some time to find its market; those people who will be out there day after day.  While it is very early one could begin to get a sense of how people are going to relate to the structure.

It will serve the city well.  It’s construction was plagued with problems and while those were not the making of the current civic administration is a serious blot on our copy books that is working its way through the legal system  That full story has yet to be told.  There is a serious bump out there that the city has yet to get over.

How and when people make the pier their own will take a little time.  One “pier walker” wondered if someone would hold Tai Chi classes out at the very end of the pier?  What a neat idea.  Will weddings be performed on the observation deck?  Will anyone remember that there was supposed to be a win turbine at the top of the beacon on the observation deck?  It was going to provide all the power to keep the lights on.

With the pier officially opened we now head for the “third” opening that will take place on Saturday.

Sometime next week the words Brant Street Pier will get moved from the Project and Initiatives part of the city’s web site.

A traditional bronze plaque was set out on the pier with the names of the current Council members.  It may well be the only public mark of the municipal political service some of them have given.

Henry Schilthuis  on the left, along with an aide.

Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster on the right walks with former Ward 6 Councillor Carol D’Amelio. Expect to see these two running against each other in 2014. D’Amelio wants back in.

Note quite the traditional photo op – most of those who took part in the official opening of the pier gathered at the end. For once everything worked.

The ceremonies over the Naval Promenade becomes the fous with the Seniors’ out in force listening to the All MAle Welsh Choir. Strolling along is Craig Stevens, the city’s project manager on the pier project. He direction and oversight kept the project going when it got a little wonky at times – but that’s another story.

So who WAS there and who WASN’T there?

Some thought former Mayor Rob MacIsaac would be on hand to say a few words about how this project came about.  However, had MacIsaac ben on hand then former Mayor Cam Jackson would have had to be on hand – and that wasn’t going to happen.

Regional chair Gary Carr sent his regrets.

Former city council member Carol D’Amelio was on hand.  She and Councillor Blair Lancaster toured the observation deck together.  Expect those two to battle it out in Ward six next municipal election.  D’Amelio wants back in.  She gave up her Council seat in 2010 to run against then Mayor Cam Jackson and while she did better than Jackson the city wanted a new look and chose Rick Goldring.

Councillor Taylor didn’t attend.  Councillor Dennison did but he wasn’t talking about his decision to appeal the Committee of Adjustment decision that went against him to the Ontario Municipal Board.  The decision to appeal will mark the beginning of the end of his 20 years of political service.

 Henry Schilthuis and one of his able assistants made an appearance.  Schilthuis was the original contractor on the pier.  e walked away from the project when he realized, in his opinion, that it could not be built with the plans he was given.

A court of law will decide if  Henry Schilthuis was right.

The pier is now part of the city.  Is it what those Council members back in 1999 thought it would be?   It will find and make a place for itself.  The city can settle into its next biggest problem – the absolutely obscene situation with the Air Park.


Return to the Front page

Pier goes through a “soft opening” – a mushy experience but the public is going to like what they are paying for.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 14, 2013 Burlington seems to like soft openings.

The city did that with the Performing Arts Centre.  They set up a schedule that allowed people to get used to the place by taking part in small events.

There were small events for different groups and public events where people just wandered in and out of the building.

The first public – they came in dribs and drabs Thursday afternoon.

The same approach seems to be the way the pier is going to open.

Thursday afternoon a crowd of a couple of hundred were gathered around the gates waiting to wander out – but those gates weren’t ready to come down.  The construction crews were still giving the place the finishing touches it needed.

CHCH TV reporter arrives a little too early. Pier not quite ready for its opening.

A local television station announced the pier was going to open at 3:30pm – they got that wrong.  There was still work to be done.  The bits of rain that drifted in and out didn’t help.

The contractor would have been just as happy if the public had not been let out onto the pier on Thursday – they still had work to do.

The construction crews would move the gates back further and further to allow people out – but it wasn’t until well past 5:30 pm before people could walk out to the observation deck.  And even then they could not go beyond because crews were setting up facilities for a fireworks display.

All a little awkward – but Burlingtonians seemed to go along with the flow.

The pier has a limit of 2100 people on it at any one time – there were not that many yesterday afternoon and we probably won’t see that big a crowd for some time – bit it will hold that many if they are out there shoulder to shoulder. Is there a Guinness Book of Records opportunity here?

By 7:00 pm people were wandering in and looking around.  Mayor Goldring took a stroll and several hundred people were out with skate boards and baby carriages as they decided just how they were going to relate to their pier.

On Friday the politicians will hold their event, the Sea Cadets will form some kind of an honour guard which is a nice touch. The politicians are not expected to take all that long to do their thing.

One of the pluses with the pier was the mini-beach that was formed on the west side. Due to the currents and the flow of water sand gets washed up on the west side. when city engineers saw this formation they decided to put in a walkway leading to the water.
MAny thought there was going to be docks for boats to tie up to – they talked about it and they even costed it out – and then backed away from it given the massive cost over runs.
You can almost bet that at some point there will be talk of baot docks again.

Then it’s back in the hands of the public – but they still won’t be able to get out to the very end – the space from the observation deck to the end is being used to set up the fireworks display for Saturday night as part of the Sound of Music Festival.

They will become collectors items sold on eBay in the future. Did you get one?

But folks – for those of you who have been waiting for years for this pier to get given to you – Sunday it will be all yours.  It is quite the place to wander around in the early hours of the morning, perhaps with a cup of coffee and a friend.

Perhaps you will be one of those early “pier walkers”.

Return to the Front page

Decision to open the pier on Thursday will be made later this evening.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 12, 2013  City officials are currently doing a walk about on the pier to determine what may exist in the way of construction deficiencies – which are a normal part of any construction project.

If the deficiencies discovered are minor in nature the city will issue a “substantial completion” document which will allow the public out onto the pier.

That “walk about” is not yet complete – and until it is – there is no certainty that the pier will open on Thursday afternoon as announced.

Confusing – sure but the city wants it’s public out on the pier as soon as possible.

Stay tuned.

Return to the Front page

Is that all there is? Much ado about nothing says the spouse.

By Walter Byj, Correspondent

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 11, 2102.  I was asked by the publisher to give my first impression of the pier at night.  I had been down to the pier with my wife after learning that the pier lights were now functioning,

So we ventured down to the lake Sunday night to experience the pier at night.  I mentally set no expectations as to what to expect.  I wanted to be impartial so that I could judge the pier at night in an open and honest manner.

However, emotionally, I wanted to be impressed and to have somewhat of a WoW  factor when viewing the pier. I knew that there would not be neon lights flashing, this would be way over the top, but hopefully there would be a feeling that the lighting system would mesh well with the pier.  In sports parlance, I wanted not just a home run, but a grand slam. I guess I set my goal too high.

I was not ecstatic with what I saw, nor was I disappointed. I felt more like the title of an old Peggy Lee song, “Is That All There Is”, a kind of hollow and empty feeling.  

Perhaps being disappointed because I expected much more, I turned to my wife to get what  is always her honest and truthful opinion. Her response, “Much Ado About Nothing”.

Sometimes a sober second viewing is needed. Perhaps there will be more appreciation of the pier once it has been walked on and then viewed upon leaving.

Return to the Front page

Hardly seems worth the effort but the city seems prepared to let you out on the pier IF the work is done a day earlier. Whoopee.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 7, 2013 — The Brant Street Pier will open to the public on June 13, two days ahead of the community celebration planned for Saturday, June 15 at noon at Spencer Smith Park.

“We are opening the pier to the community as soon as it safe to do so,” said Scott Stewart, General Manager of Development and Infrastructure. “The pier will be open and the fencing will be down the afternoon of Thursday, June 13.”

The city is also lighting up the pier, including the beacon feature, each night starting at 9 p.m. following successful lighting tests earlier this week.

Less than a week – and hundreds of people will be out on the pier enjoying the view.  The pier could hold more than 2100 people – assuming they were standing shoulder to shoulder.  Is there a Guinness Book of Records opportunity here.  Maybe 2000 people enjoying the Goodness of Guinness all at the same time with a helicopter overhead recording the event.  Dial up the city events department – see what they think.

The city is planning two celebration events related to the pier.  The first is a thank you event to recognize the city’s funding partners, including the federal and provincial governments, Halton Region and Burlington Hydro. That takes place Friday, June 14 at 1 p.m. and includes speeches, a plaque unveiling and a tour of the pier.

 MP Mike Wallace, Mayor Rick Goldring and representatives from Conservation Halton, Burlington Hydro and other community partners are expected to attend. The seven children who will leave their hand prints on the pier will help dignitaries unveil the plaque that recognizes the completion of the Waterfront at Downtown Burlington, including the Brant Street Pier.


Charissa Pavlou, one of the city’s best kept entertainment secrets. Hear her just the once and you will want to know why we aren’t seeing her during the Sound of Music Festival. This young lady is going to break through big time soon.

The second event is on Saturday, June 15 at noon, when the Burlington Teen Tour Band will march out onto the pier to signal the pier’s official opening. When the band leaves the pier, the community will be invited to walk on the pier and eat free cupcakes, leave hand prints on a canvas and enjoy local entertainment, including from Burlington vocalist Charissa Pavlou and other local artists.

So – here is how it is going to play out.  Assuming the work is complete – all the fencing will come down the afternoon of the 13th and anyone wandering around can stroll out to the end of the pier.  No sense of occasion, no marching bands, nothing special.  And at $20 million – this is special.

Then a day after the politicians will show up and huff and puff and look important; unveil the really rather nifty plaque that will have been put in place and all get their pictures taken.  There are a lot of gulls flying around – you know what one of them can do to the dignitaries on this occasion don’t you?

Then the NEXT day the pier will go through yet another opening when everyone will be cleared off while the Burlington Teen Tour Band will march out and open the pier for the people.  Cupcakes get served – maybe balloons too.

Then everyone gets cleared from the pier at 3:00 pm so things can be set up for the fireworks display that night.

Here is the Burlington Teen Tour Band opening up the Performing Arts Centre. Imagine them doing the same thing on the pier. Going to be a glorious sight.

Mercy on us all – what a mess!  Now you have some idea as to just why it took three times as long as expected to get built and more than twice what the city expected to pay for the thing.  Someone called the pier the “mistake on the lake”; could he have been right.

Whoever is making the decisions about the opening doesn’t appear to have any sense of occasion or a feel for drama.  The dignitaries could have been lined up and given credit for finding the money to build the thing and then the plaque unveiled.  Right after that the Burlington Teen Tour Band could have come marching in off Lakeshore Road down the promenade and out onto the pier with all their flags snapping in the wind.  The public would have followed them on out to the pier.

The band could have done one of those fancy turns they do at the end of the pier and come marching back towards the public that would have been kept back a respectable distance with a nice fancy felt rope.  The BTTB could then have stopped just down from the node – played a few pieces and then someone would declare the pier officially opened.

Instead we are going to get one dreary official opening and then another yes you can go on the pier – now you can’t and then later you can go out again.

Enough to make you dizzy.  However, when you eventually get out there – it is something.

Return to the Front page

Whoa, that wasn’t the deal ? The pier is part of the park and the park doesn’t open and close.


By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  June 3, 2013  It was while taking a picture of the sign the city is putting up down on the pier setting out all the things that you can and can’t do – mostly common sense stuff.

When we cropped the picture and went to put it in our photo library we noticed the line that said “Park is closed from 11 p. m. to 7 a.m.”  When did that happen?  Who made that decision?  Is someone kidding?

Ain’t that the darnedest thing you ever read – closing a park that doesn’t have a gate on it.

During a meeting this morning with Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward she said that the hours were news to her and that “well we will just have to do something about that won’t we?”

Halton police know nothing of special hours for the park – and they don’t have any special plans for policing the pier either.

While a little dated – taken May 29th – this picture shows what the entrance to the pier is going to look like. No place in this picture for any gates – so why put up a sign saying the pier is closed?

So who is going to keep people out – there are no gates.  Sounds like a dumb idea to me.

This is one of those slower weeks.  A couple of Council members are in Vancouver at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities convention where they are leaning on the federal government to get more funding for the infrastructure work that has to be done on our roads  and the Mayor is preparing for his short trip to Germany where he and the Economic Development people are making a presentation to an organization involved in water and how we use it.

There is a Council meeting next Monday – maybe we will learn more about the hours of operation then.

And it is said we just might learn something about the legal problems with the pier as well.

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

Is the city going to bury some news on the legal fight over the pier in the hoopla that will surrounding its opening? Stay tuned.

This is the path people will walk down to get to the pier.  Contractors are completing the work and, unless there is a catastrophe, the pier will open on the 14th.  Expensive – yes but worth the wait.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 31, 2013.  There appears to be some movement on the legal side of things with the pier.  It has been suggested to us that we might want to pay close attention to some comments, maybe even an announcement at the city council meeting June 10, that there is a resolution to a part of the legal dispute.

The city is in the middle of a law suite with a number of people, the most significant of which are the original contractor,  Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd. and AECOM, who were the contract administrators when the original contractor,  Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd., walked off the site.

There are millions of dollars on the table with this one.  While AECOM is going to be difficult to settle with, but we could be wrong on this, it is understood that HSS was interested in settling with the city but that opportunity may have passed.

The city is gearing up for a grand opening and really wishes the focus could be on the hoopla and speeches and create an opportunity for people to walk out onto the pier and see the structure for what it is – a really magnificent addition to the city.

All true – but to be as late as this project has been and to have to deal with the huge cost over runs, never mind the ton of money that is going to be spent on the lawyers the city has had to hire, is not being accountable or transparent.

Heads should roll for this one – unfortunately the heads that oversaw this monumental screw up have quietly left town.  Of the team that over saw this – there is just one poor soul left at city hall.  Tom Eichenbaum, Director of Engineering and the guy that has been sitting through hours of “discovery” with lawyers grilling him on who did what when.

All the others have found a more comfortable place to add to their pensions.         

The city recently set aside $10,000 to cover the cost of specialized communications people – the kind that know how to handle sticky legal problems.

There appeared to be an opportunity to settle with the original contractor but that slipped away; someone convinced the city this wasn’t a good idea.


Return to the Front page

First time pier walker says forget about the cost; enjoy the location and the views.

By Walter Byj

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 30, 2013.  First of all, let’s forget about the money and the multiple delays. 

I know that to some this is an important feature and must not be forgotten.  That is true. 

Correspondent Walter Byj: Enjoy the pier.

What will it do?  Add to the beauty of downtown Burlington. That was not only my thought, but also others from the media that took the afternoon tour.  It is not the longest pier in the world, but is one of the few curved piers around. It offers a picturesque view of not only Burlington, but also of Lake Ontario and the Burlington Skyway.

The pier as you will see it as you walk down from Brant Street. The last of the landscaping is being done, the LED lights that will illuminate the beacon at the top of the node are being installed and programmed. The one thing that will not happen here this year: the Sound of Music parade will not get out onto the pier.

In addition, the rock formation along the shore  is stunning. And this view will change depending on the time of day and time of year.

With 100 programmable LED lights, the pier will come alive at night and can easily reflect special occasions such as red and white lights on Canada Day. In fact, dusk or night-time could very well be the best times to visit the pier.

Scott Stewart, GM of Development and Infrastructure  for the City of Burlington is proud of the pier and feels that it would be a winner for downtown.  When asked about various problems that the pier might encounter, such as crowding and other activities that the pier offers. he did say that “it would be a learning experience and rules might have to be made up as circumstances dictate.”

 Should you run down on June 15th so that you can be the one first to walk the pier?  Perhaps not, it might be fairly crowded.    However, do make the trip and take in the surroundings without thinking of costs and overruns. For some this may not be possible, but the money has been spent, you cannot get it back.  Enjoy the results.

Return to the Front page

Prepare for a parade with the BTTB, fireworks and balloons – and try and figure out what the lawyers are up to – our pier.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 27, 2013  The left hand isn’t exactly talking to the right hand – but they know what the other is up against – and it ain’t pretty.

There are two teams of people at city hall working on the events that will take place in the middle of June when THE Pier is officially opened.  There will be two of those official events; one for the politicians who dug up much of the money that made the pier possible and another for the common folk who will have to pay for the Pier along with its legal costs.  Two different groups at city hall making sure there are balloons and fireworks and a marching band as well.  Lots of hoopla and fun.

The nagging legal matters and those legal costs are still out there and have to be dealt with.  City Council will go into a Closed Session this afternoon to hear a report from the city’s solicitor.  All we are going to be able to tell you about that report is that it is ten pages long and printed on yellow paper.

Construction of the pier has gone so well that in the last month of getting it ready for Opening Day Project Manager Craig Stevens was able to get off on some vacation.  Here he takes communications intern Ryan  through some of the work left to be done.  Behind them are two of the balustrades to which bright blue railings will be attached.

But we can tell you this: the process of discovery is still going on.  An event that was thought to require five days when it started is now closer to twenty days and there is quite a bit more to come.

Discovery is that process where each side of a legal difference gets to pull information from the other side.  Often, one document leads to another document which in turn leads to a third document.

There have been all kinds of surprises. 

There is every reason to believe that some of those surprises have led the city’s legal department to take a different look at the situation and perhaps change the strategy.

The city had one occasion to get into some serious settlement talks with one of the companies in this battle – they took a pass on that opportunity.    It appears that the situation has become a little more fluid – options are being looked at.

Stay tuned for more on the legal front.

Meanwhile the Pier itself is doing just fine.  Work proceeds and short of a serious accident or the failure of some parts to arrive on time – the thing will open when they said it will open.  One really interesting and remarkable fact: there hasn’t been a single serious accident on the site.  No broken bones, just some cuts and bruises.   There were several cranes on site – not one of them fell over.

Return to the Front page

Is the public going to have to wait until the 15th of June to get out on the pier they are paying for?



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON. ON.  May 14, 2013.  What do you make of this?

In a media release put out by the city, Mayor Rick Goldring said “The Brant Street Pier is nearly completed, and will be a waterfront icon at the foot of Brant Street for families to enjoy for generations to come.”  He then added:  “There is still some outstanding business regarding legal action related to the pier. The city will be as open as possible in sharing that information.”

View from the pier looking east. That patch of land between the two building is where the Riviera Motel used to stand. It is the site where an 8 storey Delta Hotel will be built, plus a seven story condominium and a 22 storey condominium. Small site for that many buildings.  The railing shown in the picture are just place holders.

Are those two sentences related?  Is the opening of the pier to the public being held up in any way by the “legal” problems?

At a recent council committee meeting Councillor Jack Dennison wanted city hall staff  types to let the public out on the pier just as soon as possible and didn’t want the public kept off the pier until the “dignitaries” got to do their thing and have their pictures taken.

Diver in the water taking out the caissons that were embedded in the lake bottom to keep the construction trestle in place. The trestle will be out by the end of the week.

The project team thought the pier could be ready for the public as early as June 3 – that date seems to be slipping. The FINAL Project Update made mention of granting the contractor “Substantial Performance which meant the pier would be transferred from the contractor to the city and the city could then decide when it was ready to let the public out onto the pier.

There are people out on the pier now – late at night “punks” go out onto the pier with their beer and make fools of themselves.  The city will want to create some form of security for the site.  There will be barriers that prevent cars from going out but they don’t appear to be wide enough to keep bicycles and motorcycles off the site.

It will probably take six months before the city realizes that a security camera is going to be necessary.

Actual construction has been proceeding very well.  The rails that will keep people from falling over the edge have yet to get put in place but that is in hand.  Most of the balustrades that will hold the rails are in place.   The team that is going to install the steel wire rope are in town – they were brought in from Vancouver.  The rails are getting galvanized and painted – then they can go up.

These three “amigos” kept the construction of the pier on time and resolved each of the many problems that cropped up.  The stairs on the left lead to the node.  Craig Stevens, Project Manager for the city on the left and Brad Cassidy the on-site manager for the construction company on the right.  Eric Carriere stands in the middle; we never quite knew what Eric did – he was just always there.

The concrete for the stairs that lead to the node will get poured this week.

Weather is hampering things a bit but there hasn’t been anything that was unmanageable on the construction side.  The problems are all on the legal side.

A number of weeks ago City Manager Jeff Fielding announced that he was hiring a specialized communications team to help with managing the flow of information to the public on some legal matters.  We’ve known this was coming for some time.

While the city has been telling the public that construction of the pier has been on time and on budget – which for the most part has been true, they haven’t been saying very much about the legal problems that have dogged the city since the original contractor walked off the job and lawsuits started being served on anyone who had a finger in that pie.

This story is far from over.  There are all kinds of things going on with the several law suits – the city would rather you didn’t know about those – they want to dazzle you with fireworks and tell you all about the wonderful view – and it is a great view.  Just not worth the $14 million + number the city uses when they talk about costs.  Think in terms of closer to $20 million.

Return to the Front page