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.


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