Final phase of the Brant Street Pier saga about to unfold – it will be painfull.

The Pier 100By Pepper Parr

June 23, 2014


City hall has taken to using the old journalism approach: the 5 w’s – Who, what, when, where why to what they tell the public.


How these seven men and woman “square the circle” and tell the public what it is going to take to finally settle the legal problems related to the construction of the Brant Street pier. Ballooning from more than $7 million to something considerably beyond $14 million can never be justified – but it is something they are going to have to live with.

About time.  We learned Friday that there was going to be a Special Council meeting at which they would immediately go into a closed session so the city’s solicitor could brief them on what had taken place during three days of mediation.

The city lawyers have always been cautious with information.  For years they told the public they could not release any data on how much they had paid the lawyers representing the city.  Few understood how that could do any harm but the lawyers held to that position until the Post filed a Freedom of Information requesting asking just how much had been spent on lawyers.  The city resisted for a bit but then came to the conclusion that they were going to have to say what the number was – more than $1.3 million.

At this point one would be really hard pressed to see any damage done to the city’s legal position with that number public.

Late Sunday evening the city advised media that there would be a briefing at noon on Monday during which interim city manager Pat Moyle would speak.  The purpose of the briefing:  “To provide openness and transparency regarding Brant Street Pier legal matters.”

While mediation is a closed process to allow everyone to put their position before everyone else with a mediator looking for a way to pull together an agreement everyone can live with and avoid a lengthy, costly trial, we can tell you this:

There is a deal – but it has yet to be ratified.  Mediation went on very long on the first day – well into the evening without much headway.  Sometime on Thursday there was a breakthrough and the mediator was able to send everyone back to the offices with instructions to make the deal real by getting the approvals needed.

It was close to impossible to get anyone to say anything during the weekend.  Phone calls weren’t returned, “can’t say anything now but give me a call Tuesday” was the response most of the time.


Was it a good idea?  With at least two city council candidates that we know of having never walked on the pier it is difficult to see what it was that moved former Mayor Rob MacIsaac to push so hard for the structure.

There is a deal but no one is going to be completely happy and it looks as if the city is going to have to bite an expensive bullet.  It will be interesting to hear how those council members with rock hard positions a year ago back down and explain themselves.

There were opportunities at several points to settle with the contractor but this council said no. In the next few days this same council is going to have to say yes.

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2 comments to Final phase of the Brant Street Pier saga about to unfold – it will be painfull.

  • penny Hersh

    I personally doubt the residents of Burlington will ever know the TRUE cost of the Pier. Since the City has never documented staff time ( that is the party line) in dealing with this fiasco. We might find out the cost of the legal fees as well as what will ultimately have to be paid to make this go away.

    As for Rob MacIsaac, in my humble opinion it had all to do with a “legacy” project.

    Perhaps the residents of Burlington should look at who on the present Council voted not to settle last year and vote accordingly in October?

    • Roger

      We got taken – the city council should send out an apology in the next city tax bill. The mistake by the lake – the pier is pretty but not what was sold in the orginal design – lacking significant thinks that were to be included – it is shorter – no art – no marina – no wind turbine. Council has treated the people like mushrooms – kept us in the dark and feed us manure. It would be my humble opinion is that the deal was done just before the election – timing – one would say the timiing is suspect. Guess us rubes including me should trust that council has the taxpayer’s best interest account for – one wonders