New pier specifications

Burlington pier drawing
Artist’s rendering of the pier, including the wind tubine

When the pier retender went to market in July it became a public document, allowing anyone to review the new specifications and compare them to the original design. The original contractor, HSS, did so, and released a public statement outlining numerous changes which they say they originally requested after problems arose on the project in 2008. (Read news article here).

Because of litigation with HSS and the original design engineer AECOM, the city has yet to release a formal response, beyond brief comments made to the press. (Read news article here). The last public statements made by the city are that the pier is buildable as is (Read article here).

At my request, council and the public now receive updates on the pier every three weeks at every Community Services Committee. The next one is Aug. 31, 6:30pm at City Hall.

My take: Residents deserve transparency and accountability, through proactive communications from City Hall, not secondhand information. That’s best practise and good governance. I’ve asked our legal and communications staff to advise what can be shared with residents on the retender specifications without compromising our legal case – especially given that the new specifications are public.

I’ve also asked engineering staff whether the new specifications were originally requested, and if done in 2008 would have restarted this project, saving time and taxpayers’ money. As a best practise, we must always be looking to find win-win solutions, as we did with Bermingham on the trestle dispute.

Now that we are on the litigation path with HSS, AECOM and others originally involved in the pier, there will be winners and there will be losers – the courts will determine who’s who. We’ve lost the opportunity to negotiate a win-win, and that’s disappointing for everyone involved in this project.

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.


Leave a Reply
  1. This is a little off topic, but as a boater, I would have thought that the original design would have included transient slips for more than the day.  This would bring many more tourist dollars to Burlington and put our city on the map as a boating destination.

  2. Like A. Hordyk I too am also a retired project manager and he is correct it is always cheaper to go with the original contractor. I have never in my 45 years of construction never seen a contract go this way.
    All of the previous problems could have been sorted out much easier and cheaper by negotiations with the original contractor

    I also am in favour of completing it.

    B Bond

  3. I am and always was in favour of honest negotiations with the original contractor.
    As a retired project manager I know from experience that this is always the cheapest way.
    It also ensures that the project stays on schedule which means the pier would long been completed.

    I assume that the new amount of $15.2 million does not include legal cost.
    Following bid opening council should still include HSS offer, my guess is that it will still be the most economical way to move forward. I am in favour of completing it, I look at it daily since I am retired and live downtown.
    Arthur Hordyk

  4. I have read reports where their were quotes of 5.8 million to complete or scrap the pier. I have seen a report quoting 15.2 million to scrap or complete the pier, why does it cost the same to supply material manpower etc to build as it would to tear it down.Highway crews tear down complete overpasses full of rebar cement etc. on a week end , and I am sure it does not cost 15.2 million. The pier was and is a joke,there is no place to park near the pier, no one in their right mind would tie a boat up to the pier,as it would on all probability be damaged.  I say bite the bullet and scrap it grind up the cement and sell the steel for scrap!          J.J.Whalen

  5. This thing would always stand as a monument to botched planning and municipal incompetence. Personally, I’d like it to go away, never to be seen again and never to blot our landscape further. It has been an eyesore for too many years and I cannot drive past without thinking fondly of the value of dynamite.

What's your take?