Things are getting a little hurried at city hall; legal department is scurrying around to get reports into the hand of Councillors.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  February 4th, 2013  A confidential report on the pier being built at the foot of Brant Street was scheduled for a meeting of the Budget and Corporate Services Committee tomorrow.

The Development and Infrastructure Committee meeting for the first time in its new format was advised this afternoon that the confidential report in the pier would be discussed at the evening portion of the Infrastructure and Development committee – which got the ire of Councillor John Taylor going – he didn’t want to go into a closed session of council to discuss a report that he has not yet read.

Usually an easy man to get along with – but grumpy, grumpy, grumpy when reports are not ready for him to read and review. John Taylor does nothing on the fly – legal department is going to have to smooth his ruffled feathers.

Councillor Taylor can get touchy at times with sudden changes.  While he groused city solicit Nancy Shea Nicol took him aside and explained that she would not be giving the a report because there were “some financials” that were not complete but that she would be giving a verbal report that would be followed up by the full document.

OK – but what’s the rush?  The report wasn’t due until Tuesday – tomorrow.  Is there something going on out there that the public has not been told about?

You bet your bippy there is.  The city is has entered the discovery process that has each of the parties in the dispute asking each other questions based on the documentation that has been provided.

That’s when the full story comes into focus and that is when lawyers ask themselves – is this something we should try to settle now or is this something we are solid on so we will go to trial?

The reason for the hurrying

and scurrying is that someone wants to talk settlement.

The reason for the hurrying and scurrying is that someone wants to talk settlement.  Who – that would be guessing.  Who has the most to lose?   The city is in the middle of all this – battling both Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd. and AECOM for the princely sum of $7.5 million.  If they lose council members will have a lot of explaining to do – not something you want to get into when you are into the second half of their term of office.

Having spent a princely sum on legal fees to date the city has to be looking at any offer to settle that might have been made.

Last week the city disclosed that it had spent $2.1 million on fighting the Nelson Aggregate application for an additional permit to quarry on the Mt. Nemo plateau.  That was a good fight that took many, many months of hearings.  The cost of the legal stuff on the pier will make the Nelson hearings look like chump change.

Next week, Henry Schilthuis undergoes discovery as does the city’s Director of Engineering Tom Eichenbaum.  Ir is interesting to note that neither Phil Kelly or Tim Commisso are part of the discovery process – both were key players and on the city’s payroll when the problems with the toppling crane and the concrete pour that failed took place.

It’s getting interesting down at city hall.  Different Councillors are beginning to talk casually about where the developer is wrong and that the city has a solid case.

Stay tuned.

As for the actual construction of the pier – that’s going great.  There is every reason to expect the thing to open officially during the Sound of Music festivities in June of this year.  The contractor (one of four who bid on the pier)

Early morning view of the pier in September.  Some time was lost in October due to weather but November and December weather was decent enough to get some work done.  Rails and the node that will have the tower with the observation deck in place are now into fabrication.

who won the tender with a bid of  $6,429.700 is on time – on budget wouldn’t apply to this job because of the nifty way the city has handled the amount that was saved when the wind turbine got thrown under the bus at a Council meeting.



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