Why the anonymity from the Pier Watcher ? This one doesn`t pass the smell test.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 4, 2011  – In the world of newspapers and other media you learn to protect your sources, but at the same time be sure that your sources aren’t using you – and when a source does not identify themselves, by which I mean you don’t really know who they are – be very, very, very careful – because that source usually has something to hide and they want to manipulate the process.

A number of months ago there was an email address burlingtonpierwatch@gmail.com – a citizen who had developed an interest in what was happening at the foot of Brant Street.  The Pier watcher disappeared during the summer and has now re-appeared with information that they could only have been gotten from the lawyers involved in the dispute with the city.

Your city council has finally resolved what has been a debilitating and financially expensive experience,  but to the credit of both the Mayor, his council and senior city staff – plus those secretive folks in the city’s legal department,  the pier project is now back on track and with a bit of a break with the weather you will be out on that Pier in the summer of 2013.

Expect to see men and equipment out on the Pier any day now. The lawyers of course can now begin their squabbles - the city has a strong casse.

It has been an exhausting process and an expensive one in terms of money spent on lawyers and consultants not to mention the staff time the construction errors ate up.  But we are past that – and we truly are past all that.

However, there are those that want to limit the damage to themselves and they are using the electronic media to mess things up a little while the lawyers work towards some kind of a settlement.

The parties in all this are primarily, Zurich Insurance, the company that put up the performance bond – they want to get out of that mess for as little as possible.

Henry Schilthuis and Sons, the original contractor who walked off the job when they found that they couldn’t complete the job with the design they had been given and  Aecom, the company that now owns the engineers who did the original design work.

The city is suing both for $7.5 million and $10 million respectively and looking for $3.5 million from the insurance company.  These are large sums of money and the people being sued will fight very hard to get the amount of the claim they are going to have to pay down to as low as possible.

So when you see things like what is set out below being sent out you begin to wonder – who is the Pier Watcher and who is he working for and where is he getting his information ?  Read on and decide for yourself.

 Enter Howard Wise – the construction lawyer you would rather have on your side.

 Clearly HSS Construction is not planning to back down from the Brant Street Pier fiasco. In fact, they’ve decided that Howard Wise will be replacing Phil Horgan to lead the HSS legal battle. This only can signal that the gloves are coming off. Horgan is known as a construction lawyer who concentrates on reaching solutions. Howard Wise has a reputation of fighting and winning.

 This seems to be a shift for Henry Schilthuis, (president of HSS) well known for his gentle demeanour and his default to working out problems (HSS hasn’t been embroiled in a lawsuit in over 50 years until the pier came along).  It could be that the bonding company is pushing HSS to start playing hardball and teach the municipality a lesson. There are concerns among bonding companies that municipalities are relying too heavily on bonding companies to solve what are contractual disputes.

 What does all this mean? Goldring and company now know Election Issues #1.

Language like “teach the municipality a lesson” and the concerns of the bonding company – interesting.  Will the Pier Watcher come forward and identify himself ?

Election issue # 1 is to deliver on your promises and Goldring said he would finish the Pier and his Council has gone along with him.  All the critical votes have been 7-0  Promises by the Mayor have been delivered.


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