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”.

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

  • Columbia

    The paper said the fireworks were for Saturday. Is there no longer going to be any on Saturday? My daughter attends Lakeshore public school and it was all the talk on the playground with parents the noise at 11pm from the fireworks and how it was expected to happen on Saturday. I know I will be disappointed if we missed out.

    Editors note:
    The fireworks are on Saturday night and are part of the Sound of Music.
    They will begin at about dusk.
    Expect a great show,

    The set up is what is taking place Thursday, yesterday and Friday.


    • Patrick Donovan

      Fireworks were set off Thursday night shortly after 11pm for approximately 3 minutes. We were informed by staff that were clearing people off of the pier before they set them off, that there would also be fireworks Friday night for 3min, and Saturday night for 15min. For only 3 minutes in duration, they were quite impressive!

  • John Birch

    Its here, its open – enjoy it folks.

  • tony millington

    Walked the pier last night. It looks great, and to City Council and City staff forget all the slings and arrows. It’s the best pier I have ever seen.