Unless there is really poopy weather for a significant stretch of time – the Pier will open during Sound Of Music.


Craig Stevens, Project Manager for the city on the construction of the Brant Street poses in front of the node that will rise 4 metres from the deck of the pier and have a 12 metre beacon on top. Stevens, who oversaw the construction of the Performing Arts Centre believes the pier will be ready to be opened during the Sound of Music Festival – IF the weather cooperates.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. February 19, 2013  In the cold winter weather we don’t get out as often which means we don’t get to the waterfront and we don’t get to see the work that is getting done to have THE  pier ready for an official opening during the Sound of Music Festival which is about four months away.

The only impediment now is weather.  And that so far has been a really doozy up and down situation.  In October the schedule lost eleven day: “eleven days in October” exclaimed Craig Steven’s, the city’s man on the project.

November was good as was December with basically nothing lost but January was not as good –there were five days lost and so far in February they have lost four days.  “In January: said Stevens, ”we had temperatures that ranged from + 16 to -27. It’s all but impossible to plan – but plan they do and they go forward as well.

Early stage construction of the four metre high node that will sit atop the pier deck and have a 12 metre beacon sitting on top. The beacon is at this point purely decorative – it was to house the wind turbine that the city backed out of last year.

The first part of the node is in place.  They are now putting the re bar in and getting ready to pour concrete around the base of a structure that will rise four metres and have a beacon atop it that will rise 12 metres for a total height of 16 metres.  It will be quite something to see when it is completed.

The beacon part of the node is being fabricated now at a shop in Kitchener where it will go through a final quality control check and be shipped to Burlington and put in place.

The node will have stairs that wind around the side leading to the observation deck.

Brad Cassidy, the Graham Infrastructure guy who is the man you have to get past if you want to get out on the pier stands with one of the balustrades that will line the pier. The bottom piece of aluminum that will be coated with Burlington blue powder is a rubbing streak with the top piece the actual top of the rail. The balustrades will be bolted to the deck and have steel wire cable strands running through the holes drilled in the balustrade. There will be 200 of the things on the pier.

The feature that will make that pier safe for everyone is the balustrades that will be quite high and be made of galvanized steel which will give them a silver-grey look and aluminum rail and rubbing streak that will be painted with a powder that will be adhered to the surface and done in what construction people in this city like to call Burlington blue.

They will have cable strung through several levels preventing anyone from falling over the side.  There will be more than 200 of these stanchions placed around the pier.  Falling over just won’t be possible – jumping over – well that’s another matter.  Bets are being placed on which high school gets to make that claim to fame first.

The balustrades – what most people call the railings have gone through several modifications which raised the question: why design decisions at this point; which brought the response: “We’ve never gotten this far before”, said Stevens, and indeed after more than six years of work and close to $20 million tax dollars spent – this is as far as construction of the pier has ever gotten.

It is as cold as it looks out on the pier on a windy winter day.  The last of the concrete forming work is being done around the node that will have a stairway winding up the side leading to a deck four metres above the pier platform.

The node that is now being put together will have a large beacon placed on top of it.  That beacon was to be part of the support for the win turbine that got trashed by city council when no one appeared to be able to figure out where the power to light up the pier at night was going to come from or how it would be paid for.  A major opportunity to save serious dollars over the life of the pier and to make an important environmental statement was lost.

What we used to call the mini-beach on the west shore side of the pier is not so mini anymore. If this thing keeps growing many Burlingtonians just might get the boat dock they thought was going to be part of the pier.

At the base of the pier, in close to the shore,  the mini-beach grows a little more each month.  While the lake water level is low right now, once the construction trestle is taken out there might be accumulation of more sand.  The city might actually get a boat dock without having to spend a ton of money.

Meanwhile on the legal front the Examination for Discovery process continues.  Henry Schilthuis and Sons Ltd., the contractor who is suing the city, and who is in return being sued by the city,  has been examined and the Director of engineering for Burlington has gone through part of his Examination.  Those proceedings have been adjourned until the week of the 25th of February.

If the temperature out on the pier is cold – the temperature in the Examination for Discovery room is not quite frozen but certainly very frosty.  Some painful discoveries are being made.

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