Minister Gould issues a statement about the canal piers - there is more that can be done

graphic community 5By Pepper Parr

April 7th, 2021



The Gazette saw the mention of some possible changes to public access to the piers at the Burlington canal.

canal two piers

There is a Hamilton and a Burlington pier – and people should be permitted to use those piers

There wasn’t much in the way of immediate response from the Member of Parliament Cabinet Minister Karina Gould.  Today she released the following statement:

“Over the last few months I’ve heard from constituents regarding their concerns about the closure of the Burlington Canal Piers.

I have been in close contact with all relevant parties about how we can work together to have the Piers stay open, while also keeping residents safe.

I’m pleased that the cities of Hamilton and Burlington, as well as Transport Canada, have indicated a willingness to work on a solution to ensure that the Piers can remain open for public use while ensuring safety for all users.

There are ongoing conversations but we are all committed to working together to keep the piers accessible and safe.

I’d like to once again thank all of the constituents who have contacted my office to express their support. Your voices have been heard, and I will continue to advocate for our community.

As always, I still encourage everyone to stay safe on our waterfront and piers.”

That’s fine as far as it goes.

Gould as a bandit

Showing the way: Burlington MP Karina Gould has an opportunity to fully engage the public on the matter of access to the pier.

During an interview with Minister Gould a number of months ago I recall the Minister saying that as a Cabinet Minister it enabled her to call meetings.

The Gazette would urge the Minister to call a public meeting, perhaps out on the pier where the public can ask questions and the bureaucrats can respond.

All the fresh breezes coming in off the lake would help with the six foot spaces.

The ‘where’ isn’t all that important – what is really vital is that there be a public meeting.



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6 comments to Minister Gould issues a statement about the canal piers – there is more that can be done

  • Allison Scott

    There is an ongoing lawsuit against Transport Canada dating back to 2017. I think that is what triggered the current issues. I think a reasonable compromise can be reached. The piers are downright treacherous when covered with freezing spray, but that only happens a few days each year. Sliding gates could be used to close off access on those rare days. Of course, who pays for any upgrades is always a subtext. The local Transport Canada director is only on the hook for a simple fence when announcing a closure. Anything else will have to be negotiated between at least two levels of government. As always, it takes time and patience from the interested parties. I believe Minister Gould is one of those who is genuinely interested in seeing the piers remain open.

  • David Barker

    Regrettably in today’s litigeous society use at your own risk” signs do nothing to protect a property owner or remove legal liability. A property owner will always be responsible for the up-keep and maintenance of the property so as to ensure the safety of anyone entering the property, even if in an uninvited manner.

    As an example, let’s say there are monitored CCT cameras surveilling a property. A sign is posting stating the property is being surveilled by monitored cameras. An uninvited individual enters the property and encounters an accident requiring urgent medical attention. However the individual charged with monitoring the camera feeds is not paying attention, has fallen asleep or whatever, meaning the injured trespasser is not noticed and succumbs to the injuries. It is very possible the property owner might be found liable for the death as the trespasser might have expected rescue relying on the monitored camera feeds to alert the owner.

    Just because nothing untoward has occurred to date, is not a guarantee it will never occur. It is naive to put that forward as an argument.

    I’m by no means advocating closing off the piers. Just saying it is not as easy as one might think for the Feds and municipalities to insulate themselves from liability resulting from injury to a member of the public accessing the piers.

  • Carol Gottlob

    The piers can often be wet or icy and present the risk of slipping and falling into the water. Anyone thought about installing railings?

  • John Jacobs

    How many people have been injured or died on the canal or pier?

  • Steve Holman

    What danger are we talking about? Has there been issues?

  • Hans Jacobs

    What real problem is being solved, supposedly, by keeping the public from the piers?
    Can’t a simple “use at your own risk” sign suffice?