Council members adjusting their sails for the change in the direction of the winds; spin doctors blowing hard soon.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  March 11, 2013  The need for more sophisticated corporation communications is being driven by the realization that the time has come to tell the citizens of the city just what did happen at the foot of Brant Street with the construction of the pier.

When you are really guilty you hire the best lawyer you can afford and forget about the old, reliable but not too bright family lawyer.

And that’s where Burlington is.  When the city manager admitted that he is looking for communications people who can handle delicate situations; something that calls for more than his in-house people can handle – you know there is hard news coming.

Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven in his newsletter to his constituents says that the pier is on time and that it will probably open in June and goes on to say: “The bad news is that the legal wrangling continues over what went wrong and who is responsible.”“The bad news is that the legal wrangling continues over what went wrong and who was responsible.”

Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven is the first to tell his constituents what’s about to happen to them – it isn’t going to be pretty.

Craven was a member of Council when many of the decisions were made and all of the Significant Seven were at the horse shoe when the decision was made to re-tender the construction job original given to Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd. and eventually hired Graham Infrastructure at a significantly higher price.

The city did have an opportunity to settle this matter as recently as less than a month ago – they chose not to allow the city manager or their lawyers to talk settlement.  Does the city still have the same lawyers?  Or has a decision been made to send them packing?

No one is saying very much at this point – so one has to beat the bushes and read between the lines; but there is something going on out there.

Councillor Dennison talks about the “Grand” opening.  He’s going to take the highest road he can find – BUT, he was there when it all began.  Don’t let him forget that.

It will be interesting to hear what Councillor Taylor says when he is given an opportunity to comment.  Don’t expect any one of them to issue a media release.  They are going to hunker down and hope that the “communications specialists can cover for them.

Might be a good time to go to the Councillor Meed Ward web site and listen to the comments she made during the election campaign that put her in office.  She was the only one who wanted the city to work things out with  Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd.

Do you get it now?  There is more.The issue is over the design of the original pier and the compromises that were made with the design when the 180 metre length proved to be too expensive and it got cut back to the current 130 metres.  There were short cuts made – that proved to be too short for Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd.

Add to that the issue as to whether the construction work came under rules in place to build a bridge.  That’s an arcane, complex  difference – but it just might be what the city loses its case over.  The people at city hall who made those decision are no longer there – most just moved on to another municipality.  The only one left is Tom Eichenbaum and he is certainly taking the heat these days. And it is going to get hotter – that’s why the “communications” specialists are being hired.

Do you get it now?  There’s more.

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1 comment to Council members adjusting their sails for the change in the direction of the winds; spin doctors blowing hard soon.

  • Penny Hersh

    Perhaps when the time is right the only way the residents of Burlington will get the truth is through Freedom of Information. This has been used in the past by residents in other municipalities when their City seemed to be SPINNING the truth.

    So much for the current councils platform prior to elections – TRANSPARENCY……